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The Man on the Train (2002)

Cast: Jean Rochefort, Jean Rochefort, Johnny Hallyday, more...
Director: Patrice Leconte, Patrice Leconte
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Studio: Paramount
Genre: Comedies, Drama, Foreign, France, Crime, UK
Running Time: 90 min.
Languages: French
Subtitles: English
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Two men from two different walks of life develop an unexpected friendship in French director Patrice Leconte's 2002 comedy-drama The Man on the Train. Weary from his trip and in anticipation of the heist he's about to perform, Milan (French rock star Johnny Hallyday) steps off the train after arriving in the small town where he's to meet his co-conspirators and heads straight to the town pharmacy. After accidentally buying the wrong product, Milan makes the acquaintance of retired teacher Manesquier (Jean Rochefort), who offers to help the traveler and then promptly begins talking ad nauseum. Milan, after paying partial attention to the old man's ramblings, excuses himself to find accommodations -- only to run into Manesquier once more after learning that the hotel has closed for the night. As the two men talk, they develop a respect for one another, as well as a secret longing to live the type of lifestyle the other man lives based on the desire to escape their own. The Man on the Train gained positive notice after being selected for competition in the 2002 Venice Film Festival, as well as for the 2002 Toronto Film Festival. ~ Ryan Shriver, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Staff Pick: Petrice Leconte's The Man on the Train (L'Homme du train) is simple, elegant and darn near perfect. While all of his films, and this one is clearly no exception, have an almost too-meticulous feel to them, Man on the Train also has a charmingly low-key, frayed, and warmer feel to it, all of which is brought home even further with the rich performances by veteran actor Jean Rochefort (no surprise) and (bigger surprise) rumpled, leather-clad French rock singer Johnny Halladay. (As Roger Ebert wrote in his review of the film, "In American terms, think of James Stewart and Johnny Cash.") Rocherfort plays a lonely, chattery retired schoolteacher due for a triple heart bypass, who intersects with Halladay's bank robber. They become friends over the course of a few days, and, of course, one sees how each could have easily become the other had certain things in their lives transpired differently. For what is essentially a simple two-character study, it's about as well-crafted as they come, with much heart, humor (there are even a few subtle nods to the French New Wave), and, ultimately, spiritual redemption. Man on the Train is also one of the few good, real films about male friendship in recent memory. -- Craig Phillips

GreenCine Member Reviews

Charmante by JKelly January 13, 2006 - 11:52 AM PST
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
This is a charming tale that has almost no uncomfortable moments of froggy exuberance. Okay, the one where the criminal spins the retired school teacher to look at himself in his reflection and utters some faux-pithy truth was a squirmer. But it was only a moment. The film has some moving moments too, such as between the professor and his sister. And the characters and settings are for the most part believable. But there are some inexplicable things, like how does the getaway driver change from geek to meek. And the fantasy montage at the end seems inappropriately whimsical. However, this film is watchable, sweet and, as I said, charming.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.25)
89 Votes
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