The late Jacques Becker [who died Feb. 21, 1960, a few weeks before release of Le Trou] left behind a solidly built film, based on a true story [authored by Jose Giovanni] of a jailbreak. Using non-actors, picture tells a tale of human endeavor and cooperation that transcends its actual locale. It is taut sans trying for any untowards suspense gambits because of its feeling for its people, place and motivations.
Five men awaiting sentence break through their cell floor, enter the insides of the prison, and get to the sewer system from where they can break into the regular sewage setup and freedom. But the best-laid plans are foiled by a newcomer who turns them in.
The intricate break and digging aspects are dynamically detailed. The rugged sets have the feel of a cement-and-iron prison. The acting is uncannily clear for non-actors, and gives an added quality to the pic. In spite of the lack of background, the prisoners are all well depicted and acceptable. Becker, sans music, holds the tension firmly in hand.