The colossal Glenda Jackson and Michael Caine bring their enduring talents to the screen for the last time

The colossal Glenda Jackson and Michael Caine bring their enduring talents to the screen for the last time
The colossal Glenda Jackson and Michael Caine bring their enduring talents to the screen for the last time

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The last escape (The Great EscaperUnited Kingdom-France-Sweden/2023). Address: Oliver Parker. Script: William Ivory. Photography:Christopher Ross. Music:Craig Armstrong. Edition: Paul Tothill. Cast: Michael Caine, Glenda Jackson, John Standing, Danielle Vitalis. Distributor: Diamond Films. Duration: 96 minutes. Qualification: suitable for people over 13 years old. Our opinion: good.

“At our age we have to hold on to every second,” is heard in The big escape when the fate of the protagonists is cast and all that remains is for them to face the consequences of a reckless act. Strictly speaking, any decision made in the case of the protagonists entails a certain risk, simply because we are faced with two nonagenarians driven to act when they become fully aware that life offers them one last opportunity to make important decisions and take charge of them. .

The most attractive thing about this bittersweet story, told with an inevitable emotional sheen, but alien to any sentimentality, is the tone chosen to recreate a true story that occurred on the 70th anniversary of the landing of the allied troops on the coasts of Normandy, in 2014. Everything happens with the rhythm, the movement, the look and the attitude towards the world and the life of two people who are heading towards the final moment of their lives.

With ailments that are not simulated, because the actors in charge of playing those characters carry them in their own bodies. And with full control of their behavior, because they still maintain complete mental lucidity, sufficient among other things to ensure that the arrogant arrogance of a group of young cyclists does not go unpunished.

The big escape is the posthumous film of Glenda Jackson, who was 86 years old at the time of filming, in September 2022, and would die, at the age of 87, on June 15, 2023. Her physical fragility is not an impediment for her to be able to display here for the last time. time his recognized talent for constructing phrases and responses full of spark and ironic spirit, and handling any situation through them.

The delicious Jackson is René, who fell forever in love with the sailor Bernard Jordan in the Second World War and now lives with him in a retirement home with all the comforts in Hove, a quiet coastal enclave in the south of England, very close to Brighton. Next to him, Jordan retains the handsomeness that Michael Caine always knew how to give to his best characters.

Caine turned 91 in March and was two years younger when filming this film, with which he decided to retire from the activity. He moves with a slow and hesitant step, but in his words and his gaze there are still traces of the mischief and decisive attitude that always characterized him in the cinema. Only in this way can the World War II veteran that he embodies in this story carry out one last mission that he had pending since that bloody D-Day.

The last escape is the chronicle of Jordan’s final trip from the nursing home to the French beaches without warning, while his wife supports that decision without leaving her room, with some great moments in which no words are needed, a few flashbacks of war times not always effective and two colossal figures capable of sustaining, even from the fragility of old age, the strength of an imperishable artistic talent. There are no movies like that anymore.

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