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Escape From Pretoria Review: Glasgow Film Festival 2020

Tension is key when it comes to escape films. The feeling of being on the edge of your seat and bitting at your nails because the tension has grabbed you is one of the best feelings you can have while watching a film. “Escape From Pretoria” is a tensioned filled ride that grabs you from minute one and never lets you go till the film is over. I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed this film as I knew nothing about it heading in and when it was over I wanted to tell everyone to watch this film.

Based on a true story “Escape From Pretoria” tells the story of Tim Jenkin played by Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and Stephen Lee played by Daniel Webber (The Punisher). Who are sent to Pretoria Central Prison after being arrested and labelled as “terrorists” because of the activism they did on behalf of the ANC (African National Congress) but they have no intentions of staying there for long. Both actors do a really great job apart from trying to keep a consistent South African accent. Seeing the range of emotions they have to play is just great and you are gripped by their struggles as they do what they can to escape. To me what stands out the most about this film is the directing. Francis Annan did a great job bringing this story to life and making sure that the tension was present throughout the entire film. 

But there’s still some issues that bother me. The biggest issue I have is the prison does not feel large, everything about it feels small but not in a way that makes you feel claustrophobic it just feels small. Apart from a couple of really cool shots the cinematography is simply but good. There is however some unnecessary moments including a time when a title card is displayed showing the amount of days they have been in prison for but then a character says how long they have been in prison for seconds later, so the title card was not needed.

This film is really good and surprised me with how much I enjoyed it. The film could be better with a second watch as maybe the issues I have are not as noticeable. I highly recommend this film to literally anyone.

Written by Robert Drever

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