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‘The Great Escaper’ – Review

‘The Great Escaper’ – Review


When it comes to utter legends of the British thespian class, Sir Michael Caine and the late great Glenda Jackson are two of the utter best of the best, and they both give two incredible final performances in The Great Escaper, which is a perfect film on every single level.

In the summer of 2014, World War II veteran Bernard ‘Bernie’ Jordan (Sir Michael Caine) sneaks out of his care home to attend the 70th anniversary commemoration of the D-Day landings in Normandy.

Noted British director Oliver Parker, whose string of credits are essential English films such as St Trinians, The Importance of Being Earnest, Dorian Grey and the recent remake of Dad’s Army, takes up directing duty for this extraordinary true story of an old sailor and WWII veteran who won’t let age or circumstance stop him from honouring his fallen comrades one final time. Based on the true story of World War II veteran Bernard ‘Bernie’ Jordan, who snuck away from his aged care home, unbeknownst to anyone, so he could pay his respects to the fallen one last time, The Great Escaper is both a brilliant comedy that captures the roguish English spirit, but also a timely and beautiful portrait of a life lived to the fullest.

Sir Michael Caine is not only a British national treasure but an actor who has left an indelible mark on the cinematic craft. With a career spanning more than 60 years, Caine is an utter legend who has shifted through genre and defined the heights of the British theatrical craft. And all while being essentially true to himself. His portrayal of World War II veteran Bernard ‘Bernie’ Jordan is a final performance of immense gravitas, and it is delivered with both deep love and relevance to drama to the memory and horrors that the greatest generation faced. Caine has long been a vocal anti-war activist, and he uses this film to highlight the awful loss that Jordan’s generation faced. This is a brave and beautiful final performance from the great actor, and it is an utterly moving performance for the audience to witness.

Complimenting Caine and bringing a deep sense of resonance and love to The Great Escaper in her final performance is Glenda Jackson, whose lauded career is utterly legendary. In what would sadly be her final performance, Jackson brings beauty and grace to her performance as Irene ‘Rene’ Jordan, Bernie’s devoted wife who pushes him to take on one final, grand adventure. At age 86, she was still as sharp as a tack and brought an incredible warmth of love, understanding and wisdom, and this was delivered to audiences in a stunning final performance.

The Great Escaper is a film that honours the Greatest Generation to the fullest and the profound sacrifice that all of them gave to a futile war whose effects we still feel so many decades later. It’s a deep and moving drama, and there’s an incredible level of complexity to the film’s events, as well as Bernie’s final mission. Ultimately, this picture’s message to its audiences is to take comfort and joy in the little moments in life, the things that make life so worthwhile. And that’s where The Great Escaper delivers its message to find joy and happiness in the little things, and it will make your heart sing.

The Great Escaper is an utterly darling little film that presents two cinematic greats who deliver an incredible final performance. It’s a perfect movie on every level, and this picture will completely move your soul.

Image: Transmission Films