The Great Escaper [4/10]

If someone were to pass me a magazine article, say, about a 90-year-old British WWII vet who gatecrashes the 70th anniversary of Dunkirk in France and becomes plastered on the front covers of newspapers … well, I’d read and mutter “interesting.” As a movie, The Great Escaper is a dull, drama-deficient failure. Michael Caine convincingly plays the vet shuffling with his walker but the lines he is given by the pedestrian script blunt his performance. Only toward the end is he allowed to shine a little and display real emotion, but by sticking to veracity the narrative can find no tension or friction. In theory, Glenda Jackson should work well as his wife, the two of them clearly meant to portray what it is like to be very elderly but still bask in seventy years of love, but her performance is all hammy edges and no traction. The music is abominably treacly and the supporting cast adds few sparks. All up, The Great Escaper might make sense if you adore World War II nostalgia but otherwise, skip it.

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