Escape at Dannemora (Pilot Episode), 2018
Signed up the 29/03/2017
I thought I was done with pilot episodes for the year but Showtime’s Escape at Dannemora took me out of retirement. Following the real life story of a prison break in which a prison employee helps two inmates breakout after she becomes sexually involved with them. The series stars Patricia Arquette, Benicio del Toro, Paul Dano, Eric Lange and Bonnie Hunt.
Directed by legendary actor, director and iconic frat pack member Ben Stiller, Escape at Dannemora delivers a slow yet satisfying and highly intriguing first episode and the slow burn nature lasts up until episode two. The series so far boasts really amazing writing, direction and cinematography that will make this show a heavy awards show contender especially for the lead performances from Benicio, Paul and Patricia, maybe even some directing recognition for Stiller.
Three brilliant actors each giving life to three different characters who all have one thing in common – the need to escape their current way of life. These three actors take these characters who are people we probably shouldn’t root for but we do anyways.
Benicio del Toro’s portrayal of Matt is terrific and the way del Toro is able to portray Matt’s scariness in subtle way is marvelous to watch and seeing Matt manipulating those around him to get what he wants is great fun, but I guess convicted murderers are always fascinating people to watch especially in prison life – their true self is shown. Then we have Paul Dano’s David, a character who really just wants to get transferred to another prison where it’s warmer but nothing seems to be going his way and the cold keeps getting colder for him. Dano is able to give David the right amount of joylessness without making us feel sorry for him. Finally we have Patricia Arquette’s Tilly, which she’s Patricia transform herself completely into this woman who is so bored with her life that she decided to begin an affair with one of the inmates and doesn’t really think about the consequences. You’ll end up hating Tilly by the second half of the time but ultimately you’ll wish that she finds herself out of this mess she’s in because the walls are about to cave in on her.
Having this true life story which many would argue that it would have been served better as feature length film because the film format would allow for the urgency of the escape to be one of the major factors but personally I feel like the seven episode limited series run is perfect. It allows you the audience to feel the dragging effects of time in prison and the mundane everyday life of Patricia’s character. The slow pace might require patience and some may find it a bit too dragging in certain moments but I felt satisfied and even more hooked into the story. A MUST WATCH.
(P.S by the time I upload this the show would be four episodes deep)
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