The film begins with the new guy being added to a cell already occupied by four other prisoners. From there the film takes us step by step as they work toward breaking out and in the process subtly bond especially with the new guy. Director Jacques Becker follows a no bullshit approach to the prison break. No overt dramatic tension, no dramatic music, just step by step toward the escape.

A Clever Little Device For Watching The Guards Through Their Peephole

Moving Packages Between Cells

A Near Miss With The Guards

Just like the fun in a procedural is in collecting and piecing each piece of evidence together to solve the crime. The fun in this movie is in watching as the prisoners follow through with their escape plan and solve each problem that arises to move toward freedom. We don’t really learn anything about why the men are in prison with the exception of the new guy whose situation plays an important role by the end of the film.

The ending will leave you guessing and the rest of the film will keep you glued to your seat, but there is just something that kept me from really enjoying the film like I did with Bresson’s A Man Escaped. That’s why I only recommend it.