Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Man on the Train |
L'Homme du Train
Actors: Jean Rochefort, Johnny Hallyday, Jean-François Stévenin, Charlie Nelson, Pascal Parmentier
Director: Patrice Leconte
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Patrice Leconte?s (Girl on the Bridge) MAN ON THE TRAIN tells the touching story of two men from different walks of life as they develop an unexpected friendship and change each other?s view of life at the last possible mo... more »
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Tucker Andersen | Wall Street | 07/10/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a quintessential French film, which in this case adds to the charm and the attraction. And the action is so leisurely that the subtitles are not a problem or distraction although in some instances they are not well timed or seem to be incomplete. The story begins with THE MAN ON THE TRAIN, Milan (played by Johnny Halladay) arriving in a small French town dressed in a black motorcycle jacket and carrying a case that includes three handguns among his possessions. His character projects a sense of foreboding, and we soon learn that he and some associates are planning to rob a local bank. Meanwhile, he has engaged in a chance encounter with Manesquier (Jean Rochefort), a retired schoolteacher. Milan essentially invites himself to stay at Manequier's estate when he discovers that the local hotel is closed. They are opposites in every way, Milan is gruff and his presence augurs a sense of danger and potential misfortune; Manesquier is genteel, a retired schoolteacher and gentleman of such ordinary habits that he has eaten lunch in the same local restaurant every day for thirty years. Somehow, a poignant friendship develops as they each see in the other the road not taken in their lives. Yet, they and the moviegoers realize that it is probably too late to change the inevitabilty of the events already set in motion. The charm of the film is its leisurely pace and the attention to detail. We are constantly treated to small surprises and unexpected twists that allow for wonderful character development. Once such example is when Milan tutors a student who appears in Manesquier's absence in the study of Balzac. The performances are captivating, and since I was unfamiliar with either of the leads they totally assumed the roles in which they had been cast. Once I had adjusted to the slow pace of the story and the director's style, I was completely capitivated.The film is approximately an hour and a half in length, enough time to get to know the characters and for the story to build to it's conclusion with increasing tension and suspense during the final phases but tightly enough edited not to become bogged down in details. The only drawback was that I thought that I was prepared for almost any possible conclusion but am not at all sure how to interpret the ending to this film . I can come up with several possible imterpretations, but can't discuss them without revealing too much of the plot. Maybe it would be clear to me if I saw the film again, but despite remembering it quite vividly and clearly and going over it repeatedly in my mind I am not sure what conclusion to draw. I notice that several other reviewers had the same reaction, so felt that it was appropriate to emphasize this aspect of the film in my review but strongly recommend it with this caveat. This is a film for moviegoers who like interesting stories and characters rather than intense action. It examines in the context of an interesting story the questions that inevitably arise in each of our lives about the road not taken and the role of fate."
Thomas M. Seay | Palo Alto, California USA | 06/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"We imagine ourselves to have free will, but most humans follow a trajectory set for them by society, family, circumstances. While possible to alter his fate, an individual will rarely put forward the strenuous effort to do so.
In "Man on the Train", two apparently different men meet by odd chance in a small town in France. One, Milan, is a rugged, tough criminal, an adventurer, a "doer". The other, Manesquier, is a frail, provincial retired school teacher...a dullard, a dreamer. Despite these differences, both men are weary of their lives, their destinies, to which they seem tethered like oxen to cart.
Milan dislikes his rootless life of crime. Manequier is bored with his predictable, provincial life. The two meet at a time when mortality confonts each one. The criminal intuits that an apparently easy bank robbery could be dangerous. The school-teacher will undergo triple-bypass surgery. Death provides the impetus and the serendipitous encounter provide the opportunity for the two men to shirk their fates momentarily and live the life they dream. Milan can be a comfortable "bourgeois de campagne" and Manequier, a roaming daredevil.
In the end, both men, whose lives seem so divergent, meet the same fate. One remembers, while viewing this film, Heidegger's instructions on the importance of keeping death present in our mind, if we are to lead complete lives. The two heroes of this story-at least briefly-accomplish this. Johny Hallyday (Milan) turns out to be a much better actor than pop-star in this thought-provoking, nuanced film."
An unlikely friendship between two strangers
S. Calhoun | Chicago, IL United States | 02/17/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"At first glance the two protagonists in MAN ON THE TRAIN appear to have nothing in common. Monsieur Manesquier (Jean Rochefort) is a solitary retired schoolteacher who desires some type of companionship when he first encounters a rough-looking younger Milan (Johnny Hallyday) buying aspirin in the chemist shop. After starting a conversation outside on the deserted street Manequier ascertains that Milan just arrived by train and is looking for a place to stay. The other details of his stay regarding robbing a bank Milan keeps hidden, but not for long. Manequier invites Milan to stay at his house that is filled with antiques and old books. As time progresses these two men grow a mutual fondness for each other and envy the life that the other has led. They don't hesitate to critique and romanticize each other to the point where they begin to adopt each other's characteristics. Manequier offers to help Milan in the bank robbery while Milan takes over tutoring students in poetry and literature. Their lives become intertwined and linked. MAN ON THE TRAIN is a wonderful film filled with sincere emotions and subtle humor. It is a film that delves deep into an unlikely male friendship without all the macho humor and homophobic tensions that are often the product of Hollywood. There is a reason why I admire and enjoy French cinema, and this film is just one more affirmation. Recommended."
An excellent movie of paths not taken
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 04/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"On a cold weekday a single passenger gets off the train at a French village. The hotels are closed for the season, but he meets an elderly retired school teacher who offers him shelter. The first man is Milam (Johnny Hallyday), a tough, middle-aged criminal who plans to rob the village's bank on Saturday. The other is Manesquier (Jean Rochefort), an educated, aging man of limited means who still occasionally takes in a student to tutor. He will have a triple by-pass heart operation on Saturday.
Manesquier soon learns why Milam is in town, and appears to accept this without judgment. As the days go by toward Saturday, Milam finds himself reading books from Manesquier's library, asking to wear a pair of slippers in the evening, accepting a pipe of tobacco to smoke. Once Manesquier is late and a young pupil shows up at the door. Milam takes the boy in and leads him through the assignment on Balzac. "I'll be your teacher today," he says, although he has never read Balzac. He does an excellent job of it. Manesquier tries on Milam's black leather jacket and holds the gun he finds in Milam's luggage, one of three. He visits the barber shop and asks for a haircut, something between just out of jail and soccer player. He asks Milam to teach him how to shoot, and wishes he could help in the robbery. Both men, so different from each other, accept each other for who each is. Each recognizes a longing to have led a different kind of life than what he has; in fact, to have led the kind of life that the other has led.
Saturday arrives. Manesquier goes to the hospital for the operation. Milam meets two accomplices and goes to the bank for the robbery. The conclusion of the movie is mysterious, elegant, sad and satisfying. Both men find, in a way, their new lives.
This is a movie where, for me, all the pieces fit together. Rochefort and Hallyday are excellent; both are actors who don't need dialogue to express a point. Although the movie is about paths not taken, it also has a great deal of wry humor. Manesquier is a man of few illusions, as is Milam, but he also is able to look with amusement at himself and at their situation in life. I think this is an outstanding movie. I can also recommend Leconte's Monsieur Hire, The Widow of Saint-Pierre and Ridicule.
The DVD picture and audio are all they should be."