Un condamné à mort s'est échappé ou Le vent souffle où il veut (A Man Escaped) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Un condamné à mort s'est échappé ou Le vent souffle où il veut (A Man Escaped) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ March 3, 2017
Bresson is not interested in big emotions or catharsis (he doesn't even mind telling us the end of the film in the title) but rather drawn to details and method, and so he crafts a meticulous and tremendously absorbing classic that depicts each step taken by the protagonist to reach his objective.
January 28, 2017
Quite a thrilling film from Robert Bresson about a prisoner in Nazi-occupied France who discreetly plots his escape. He is eventually aided by another, more youthful prisoner as the two of them try to make their way to freedom. The tone of this film is very suspenseful and that suspense is drawn out brilliantly and deliberately right through to the end.
Super Reviewer
January 13, 2017
A flawless, precision-tooled masterpiece, where every frame works perfectly. Unsentimental but profound and moving, it is suspenseful as any classsic Hitchcock, gripping from start to finish. I can see why it is sometimes sighted as one of the greatest films of all time.
½ September 28, 2016
When a movie is as simple as A Man Escaped, every little detail becomes important. In this film by Robert Bresson, all of these details are perfect.
July 24, 2016
Robert Bresson's masterpiece about a man planning an escape from a Nazi prison. It's a faithful retelling of war hero André Devigny's story.
½ July 6, 2016
In one of the critic's most beloved films, director Robert Bresson portrays a prison escape during the WW2 Nazi occupation of France. The story is based on the memoirs of André Devigny and was enriched by Bresson's own experiences during the war. Nothing new so far, there are plenty of well known films dealing with that theme, both before, and after 1956. What is it that makes this film different?

The film sets itself apart by employing a spartan narrative that could alienate contemporary viewers, but it also could force a small percentage of them to contemplate just how much fat and fluff modern films possess (yes, I am looking at you Interstellar, but I could be looking to any of your overrated, overweight brothers).

The story is being told in a first person narration, where our hero, a condemned lieutenant of the French resistance, describes his simplistic everyday actions, as he awaits his impending execution. A lot of time is spent inside his solitary confinement cell, where our protagonist is looking for any tiny glimpse of hope; whether it is some form of communication with another fellow Frenchman, or even some way of escaping his sealed fate.

The simplicity of actions depicted, is shadowed by directional austerity; communication is kept to a minimum, always under the disembodied presence of the guards, always commanding the prisoners to cease talking. In general, the German's actions are kept out of the camera's focus, but are felt imperatively; the everyday handling of the cells' doors and the sudden machine gun fire, that signals that executions take place.

The film's impressive feat is that its plainness is gripping. I felt stifled by the inhuman prison conditions and found myself faithfully following long scenes of the protagonist's attempts to grasp at a plausible escape plan. Even when a desperate plan is concocted, preparations enhance the feeling of dread, since the day of execution is nigh, and the plan moves forward at a snail pace.

While I do not share the the critics' overt enthusiasm, this is a very entertaining film, in its own special way. I would recommend it for everyone who is able to watch something more than a multiplex blockbuster. 7.0/10.
½ April 8, 2016
This film is solid. Its stoic, grim, and simple. The voiceover is a bit on the weird side, but makes up for the held back performance from a non-actor. That ending shot is amazing.
March 26, 2016
Well made French film showing a jail break film and the arduous meticulous labor that goes into the mentally straining task.
March 9, 2016
Best jailbreak movie I have seen in a long time -- focused, with an unknown cast that makes this more real. And it gives some ideas on how to get out.
February 23, 2016
A brilliant controlled sophisticated movie about a man in prison plotting an incredible escape.
A Man Escaped has a runtime of just 99 minutes, you might think that's a short runtime for a brilliant prison escape movie, it isn't, you know why, Bresson has not a single shot, not a single scene, not a single line of dialogue or narration to many or to little.
It shows what it needs to show to progress the plot, it doesnt show a fancy backstory or subplot, it doesn't have special effects, big movie stars, massive set pieces, no, it's a movie about a man and his escape and that is what Bresson shows, he uses 100% of the movie's runtime to tell the tale of the incredible escape, each scene is about the escape, there is not a single scene that's aberrant, everything that's shown is to make the escape even more detailed.

The movie is shot like you're Fontaine's companion in the escape, every scene of the movie is alongside him, it doesnt show the grand scale of the prison, the lives of the guards, the lives of other prisoners, you know why?
To tell the story from the perspective of the prisoner, Fontaine wouldn't know how the grand scale of the prison would look like, he's locked up and only let out for wash-up time in the morning, he wouldn't know about the lives of the guards or the other prisoners, he wouldn't know, so the audience wouldn't know either, that's how this movie is shot.
Absolutely brilliant.
This creates an incredible tension because you're going along for the ride when Fontaine is escaping, he sees the route for the first time, and so are you, the viewer, you wouldn't know what is going to come because neither does Fontaine.

One of the most forgotten, best, and special movies ever made.
December 13, 2015
A Man Escaped is a film not defined by its characters or even its story, but by its bleak, minimalistic atmosphere. The visuals are beautiful, but blank and simple. The acting is good, but they aren't very theatric and we learn little about the characters. The power of the movie comes from its sound. The film is very quiet and the creaks of the doorways, the gentle tapping against walls and scraping of the floors, the footsteps of the guards walking by creates a fantastic sense of tension and precariousness for the lead. His escape from the German prison is predicated on not making any noise and a lack of sound becomes synonymous with safety and peace. Even though we don't know the lead character that well, we understand his intentions and watch his cautious moves very carefully, knowing that the slightest mistake could lead to his downfall. It is a movie stripped down to its essentials and its a very good one at that. It is a little slow at points and the lack of theatrics or music to add suspense is unusual, but adds an interesting aspect to the movie.
Super Reviewer
December 11, 2015
A true masterpiece and wonderful work in minimalism. The film holds the viewer captive with its central character, imprisoned within the film much like he is trapped in the prison camp. Filled with absolute edge of your seat tension and a character you pull for, A Man Escaped is a true masterpiece and wonderful piece of cinema.
½ October 24, 2015
A well made prison film.
½ October 4, 2015
Delivered completely straight with a modestly gentle but cold blooded realism this under appreciated gem of prison escape movies is both completely compelling and brimming with intense suspense- the kind that can only come from a director who himself was once a POW. I held my breath and sat on the very edge of my seat for the whole final act.
½ September 22, 2015
reminded me of mcQueen's 'papillon'
January 18, 2015
A all-time classic that is widely considered to be one of the greatest "escape" films from Master director Robert Bresson. I thoroughly enjoyed this film which is very much about the procedure, and less of an action film like say "Escape From Alcatraz". There's a lot of film technique at work here with lots of suspense, and it makes the actual escape scene all the more powerful. A MUST watch for serious film fans!
June 4, 2014
Without superfluous shots, prison-movie cliches, stylized music, or Hollywood actors, Robert Bresson delivers a bare-bones minimalist masterpiece that despite not being adorned with the usual tropes conveys the wonder of an edge-of-your-seat story.
March 29, 2014
If there is a "how-to" piece of filmmaking, this is it - A Man Escaped establishes all the essentials in its storytelling and, by omission, helps us realize how much of what we're used to is redundant.
Super Reviewer
March 18, 2014
Based on the true account of prisoner of war Andre Devigny, director and writer Robert Bresson recreated the isolation, intrigue, and tension of a prison break. Our hero, Fontaine, is played by Franncois Leterrier in his first ever acting role. His performance is particularly monotone, devoid of the emotion of a man on the very brink of death. This shows the calculation behind the plot he is hatching and his calm demeanor while under the Nazis' thumb. What makes the film especially amazing is the step by step processing in his creation of tools from his cell, including smashing lamps for grappling hooks, tearing up shirts for braided rope, and slowly chipping away at wooden hatches with a dull prison spoon. The film remains terse without a score, using silence often to its advantage in creating an often flexible sense of danger for the protagonist. Sound effects are pivotal in the climax and let us know about the action offscreen. Because this is a prison, that works well with the story, showing that prisoners aren't aware of the facets of the system around them. The Nazis aren't shown for their historical villainy, but more as simple captors for these mostly innocent prisoners of war, and the prison itself is more important towards their state of well-being than even the firing squads in the courtyard. It's really a very thorough prison break film and even in the end we worry for the sake of the twosome.
½ March 17, 2014
What Rififi was to the heist genre, A Man Escaped is to the prison escape genre. Basically it distills every aspect down to it's purity and puts it on display in a form thats almost too perfected. This is one well oiled machine, and a must see for prison movie fans!
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