Papillon is a 2017 biographical drama film directed by Michael Noer. It tells the story of French convict Henri Charrière (Charlie Hunnam), nicknamed Papillon (“butterfly”), who was imprisoned in 1933 in the notorious Devil’s Island penal colony and escaped in 1941 with the help of another convict, counterfeiter Louis Dega (Rami Malek). The film’s screenplay is based on Charrière’s autobiographies Papillon and Banco, as well as the former’s 1973 film adaptation, which was written by Dalton Trumbo and Lorenzo Semple Jr. and starred Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.
Henri “Papillon” Charrière, a safecracker from the Parisian underworld, is framed for murder. Though he has an alibi from his lover, Nenette, Papillon is convicted and condemned to the notorious penal colony on Devil’s Island in French Guiana — a hellish prison from which nobody has escaped. On the boat to South America, Papillon is awakened as two convicts murder the prisoner sleeping next to him in order to cut open his stomach and steal the money he had swallowed.
He forms an unlikely alliance with a quirky counterfeiter named Louis Dega, who is targeted by the other prisoners who suspect him of also hiding money. Papillon saves Louis’ life one night and is punished for fighting by the guards. In exchange for Papillon’s protection, Louis agrees to finance Papillon’s escape, ultimately resulting in a bond of lasting friendship.
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