You can almost place the RFC personnel into the films character roles; Brian McDermott and Nigel Gibbs as the Machiavellian "Big X & Mac," Jobi McAnuff as James Donald's "SBO," Danny Guthrie as Coburn's "Manufacturer," Jimmy Kebe becomes the running David McCallum, Adam Federici as James Garner's "Scrounger," Jem Karacan providing Charles Bronson's brawn etc. As to whom plays Steve McQueen's "Cooler King" Virgil Hilts, I'll leave for debate.
Say it quietly, but the Royals are unbeaten at the Madejski since Christmas. Poignantly, they've also managed back-to-back victories for the first time since that Tuesday night back in April when promotion was secured against Forest. But where that match saw Reading's winning streak end, could another winning run be about to begin?
Either way it looks as though McDermott once more has the advent of a new year and the FA Cup to thank, for maybe kick-starting a characteristic second-half season surge. Along with making it to the Cup's fourth round, Reading are in their richest vein of form right now, having amassed seven points from the last four league games. Their best points to games ratio so far this season.
Regardless as to how many new recruits come in over January to help dig the Royals out of trouble and the amazing ten minute turnaround against West Brom. Saturday's win only just removed the topsoil, in terms of tunnelling our way out the relegation zone.
The parallels to the classic escape film don't end there. Although they're not yet irreversibly imprisoned, McDermott's men are in the Premier League's equivalent to the film's aptly numbered "Stalag Luft III." And like their film personas, they need to make the woods by bridging the three point gap to get out of the relegation hole pretty quickly, before they're struck down for good. Much like Richard Attenborough and co. both January and February's fixtures provide their own "Tom, Dick & Harry's" in aiding RFC's potential escape.
Fourteen of the sixteen points Reading have tabled so far have come from home games. So it looks like we'll be putting huge reliance on getting results with the eight league games left at the Mad Stad. Win them all and we'd be bang on for the magic "safe 40 points" that so many managers have mused over, in seasons gone. But it's worth noting that despite a great resurgence, Trevor Brooking's West Ham were relegated with 42 points back in 2003. "Experts" have said that they don't think that many points will be involved this season, but with Harry Redknapp's QPR already getting an unlikely four points from trips to Chelsea and Tottenham, you do wonder if the Houdini-esc feats are about to begin?
As for those remaining home games, try picking an easy win? There's Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City, along with absolute "six-pointers" against Sunderland, Wigan, Villa, Southampton and QPR! With Reading needing to go undefeated in the Madejski at the very least, they therefore need to do what they haven't done since that Friday the 13th at St Mary's back in April 2012. Win a league game away from home.
Getting back to "Tom, Dick and Harry" Reading's next two league games couldn't come at a better time. January's "Tom" has thankfully bore the fruit of three points off the Baggies. But could "Harry & Dick" blossom into the same?
As it stands Newcastle haven't won this side of Christmas and in their five games since have conceded 15 goals! Along with that, Pardew's men have also lost their starring figure in Demba Ba, whose hand was the only thing that prevented Reading getting their first league win back in September. Another point in Reading's favour, is that Newcastle's home form isn't quite the force is has been in seasons past, having failed to win more times than they've won. Now that their other key player in Fabricio Coloccini has reportedly asked to leave St James' Park, could Reading go to an unhappy north-east and gain their first league away win in eight months? Given the side's contrasting forms, there may not be a better opportunity?
On the face of it, Reading's last game in January at home to Chelsea looks the toughest. But in contrast the west-Londoners may feel that instead. For Reading it'll be their sixth game of 2013, whereas Rafa Benitez's side will be on their ninth! Caused by their competing in both the domestic and FIFA Club World Cups, the Blues have had a busy schedule which is set to continue into February when Europa League games begin. One hopes that maybe Chelsea won't field a full first-side and the events of recent games against QPR and Swansea can be repeated?
If Reading can end January with the greater share of points, then hopefully February's "three tunnels" or crunch fixtures against Sunderland, Stoke and Wigan won't look so daunting? Maybe even less of a challenge than January's, if Reading can get into good form?
If by March, Reading haven't got at least two more wins, then surely their fate will be in the hands of football's gods? Going to Everton, would mean McDermott's men doing the double on a side since Brighton nearly eleven months previously! Followed by what could potentially be kiss-or-death against Villa with trips to Old Trafford and The Emirates after. Some task.
Any come back after then, could be like swimming after the ferry that's left port. Therefore the great escape must begin cranking up its productivity through continuing to gather points fast in my view.
Otherwise it could take the greatest of escapes to stay in the Premier League. Much like the film, make sure the signing is loud, so that the digging can be at its most productive. Weeks in the Premier League's "cooler" could turn to years, in the confinement of the Championship once again.