The Great Escaper – REVIEW

The Great Escaper – REVIEW
Image: Michael Caine in THE GREAT ESCAPER. film still

This biographical drama tells the true story of Bernard Jordan, a British WWII Royal Navy veteran who ‘walked out’ of his nursing home at the age of 89 to attend the 70th anniversary D-Day commemorations in France in 2014.

With the aid of a walker and little money in his pocket the resourceful veteran accomplished his mission, catching a ferry across the English Channel and honouring his fallen comrades in France. He was regarded as a hero by the media and referred to as the great escaper, his story headlining the newspapers throughout the world.

Michael Caine and the late Glenda Jackson star in this, their final cinematic offering as Bernie and Irene Jordan respectively.

Glenda Jackson and Michael Caine in THE GREAT ESCAPER. film still

Through cleverly placed flashbacks, audiences learn  how this couple met during the war years, their relationship and marriage which lasted over 70 years.

The snippets of extremely loud warfare scenes incorporated highlight the trauma that Jordan was still suffering all these years later, permanently feeling the guilt for the death of one of his friends on the battle fields.

This is an inspirational film, drenched in sentimentality with an equal dose of humour which is predominantly delivered through dialogue in scenes between Bernie and Irene.

Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson in THE GREAT ESCAPER. film still

There are several relatable themes which should hopefully make audiences aware. Making the most of each day of our lives stands out as the prominent theme and also that memories last forever and won’t be forgotten with the passage of time.

The mental trauma suffered by ex-soldiers who have experienced war action and the disrespect they encounter by the younger generations are also major themes.

An emotional scene which highlighted the senselessness and futility of war was where Jordan and some English war veterans sat down at a pub, had a drink, and tearily conversed with several D-Day German war veterans.

 

“What a waste!” Jordan cried out as he turned around and had a sweeping view of all the soldiers’ tombstones during a scene in a cemetery.

This is a triumphant movie, poignant and heart wrenching at times, that should be watched by all audiences. Jordan was affectionately described as a 90-year-old coffin dodger by many. Was it good luck that got him through the war?

★★★★

In Cinemas March 7

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