Showtime’s Escape At Dannemora is an exciting mini-series based on the true story of an escape from an upstate New York prison. It takes pace at the Clinton Correctional facility, which is a bleak, cold version of Hell, located in the Village of Dannemora, New York. Convicted murders are sent to this frozen wasteland to serve life sentences far out of sight from the civilized people of the world.
In 2015, two murders escaped from this prison with the help of a middle-aged female prison employee. We are not spoiling the series, since this fact is known from the first scene of Escape At Dannemora. The plot then takes us back in time and details exactly what happened.
The cast is one of the best ensembles of actors that ever worked together. Escape At Dannemora is directed by Ben Stiller, in a complete switch from his usual comedic work. His direction is amazing, with the ability to show the loneliness and desperation at the prison with the sweep of a singe camera shot. Somehow, Ben Stiller was able to get permission to film at the actual prison where the escape took place.
Benicio Del Toro is Richard Matt, one of the murderers who is the the mastermind of the escape plan. Richard is tough enough to have the respect of the other prisoners, but clever enough to win favors from the guards and civilian workers at the prison. Richard is a talented artist, and paints beautiful pictures and portraits as gifts for the guards.
David Morse is prison Guard Glen Palmer, who knows that his real job is simply to make sure that nothing violent ever happens at the prison. He is willing to make deals with “boss cons” and even use his tremendous physical strength to smack some prisoners around when needed.
Paul Dano is David Sweat, a cop killer and the second member of the escape plan. He is young and not too bright, but he has developed a sexual relationship with civilian worker Tilly Mitchell (Patricia Arquette). David is using this relationship only to get extra food. It is Richard who realizes that they may be able to manipulate Tilly into helping them escape.
Escape At Dannemora is a story of the loneliness and desperation of the people who polite society does not want to think about. The Guards and Civilian workers are as much prisoners as are the actual inmates. The Guards and Civilian workers spend their lives in confined areas outnumbered by dangerous violent men. A combination of boredom and fear permeate all aspects of their lives.
The inmates have to look out at the vast woods of upstate New York knowing that this will be the only view they will see for the rest of their lives. This situation leads to a slow, inevitable build up of pressure that eventually must explode.
- We give Escape At Dannemora our highest rating of Five Stars *****
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