Jul 6, 2007

On 15th July 2007 - Man On The Train

A Film by
Patrice Leconte
Year 2002. Runtime 90 minutes .
French with English subtitles.
Venue ; Ashwin Hospital Auditorium , Ganapathy
15th July 2007 Sunday at 5.45 pm.

In this elegant French mystery, two strangers – meet late in life. One is a retired literature teacher. The other is a bank robber. Both are approaching a rendezvous with destiny. By chance, they spend some time together. Each begins to wish he could have lived the other's life.
From this simple premise, Patrice Leconte has made one of his most elegant films. It proceeds as if completely by accident and yet foreordained, and the two men--who come from such different worlds--get along well because both have the instinctive reticence and tact of born gentlemen. It is rare that a film looks unflinchingly at a friendship between men without placing sex, money, or power as roadblocks to overcome.

The real draw to "Man on the Train" are the believable characters created by the pen of scenarist Claude Klotz and the nicely textured spin put on them by Rochefort and Hallyday. The two actors establish their characters as three-dimensional beings that, after their long respective careers, crave a life completely different than they have known.

The dialogue of "Man on the Train" is minimal, especially for Hallyday, with periods of silence between the two men as meaningful as their spoken words.

Leconte paces his film like two trains gaining speed for a head-on collision, technically merging Manesquier and Milan's distinct color and sound themes until a swirl of surgeon's masks and stocking-faced robbers seal the men's fates together. A fantastical conclusion might be seen as an unearned happy ending that blunts the irony of where the men's original plans take them

The cinematographer, Jean-Marie Dreujou, has given the film an unusually rich look, all autumnal browns and golds.

Leconte brings his film to transcendent closure without relying on stale plot devices or the clanking of the plot. He resorts to a kind of poetry. After the film is over, you want to sigh with joy, that in this rude world such civilization is still possible

Man on the Train is a gorgeous reminder to know what you want, but also to appreciate what you have. Watching "Man on the Train" is like coming across one of those threadbare Persian rugs you see on public tours of private homes. Its elegance is more comfortable than cold, and it carries its worn, battered mien proudly .

The film provides a coherent end to both characters’ poems, and a little for us to ponder as we leave. Man on the Train is a journey well worth taking.

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