Saturday, May 17, 2008

"roman de gare" movie review

last night pat and i went to see "roman de gare," (criss-cross) a french thriller that debuted at the cannes film festival last year. a french film and subtitles? not the way i'd normally spend a rainy friday night before a 10k race the next morning. but since it was our 16th wedding anniversary, and since it was a "thriller" (not your typical "art house" fare) - i was up for it. and, this film was well worth going to see - spellbinding!

for someone like me, who goes to a movie sparingly, each trip has to count. in fact, this was the first non-running movie i've seen this year ("spirit of the marathon," "run fat boy run," and "run for your life: the fred lebow story" - each well worth seeing!) - yikes! the plot dealt with whether an author, judith, had a ghost writer produce her best-sellers, and whether that possible ghost writer, pierre, was, or was not, a serial killer!

the bulk of the movie covers the accidental relationship that develops between pierre and huguette - the suspected serial killer and the self-described "air-head." huguette's fiance, in a remarkable moment, abandoned her at a roadside service station after they had spent hours arguing during the car trip from paris. that's how huguette's life story intersects (dare i say, criss-crossed) with pierre's. he, himself, may be a serial killer on the run from his family, students and dreary life - or the secretary (and possible ghost-writer) for the best-selling author, judith. there are plenty of twists, turns and subplots to grapple with during the film.

pierre, somewhat surprisingly agrees to impersonate the now-absent fiance so she can arrive at her parent's farmhouse and maintain the illusion of happy engagement. this 24 hour period is the most atmospheric and powerful screen time of the film. the trout fishing trip that pierre makes with huguette's teenage daughter (who lives with the grandparents on the farm) starts off with the foreboding bleats of goats and sheep, that escalate into bone-chilling screams. will he kill the girl - and confirm to the audience he is the serial killer?

i won't give away what pierre is up to, or what ultimately happens to him. however, the film, at times, goes over the top in setting out various possible explanations for the events we witness and thens seeks to make them seem plausible - even if a certain degree of disbelief needs to be suspended. but, an added bonus is how the film manages to cram in opulent - if totally unnecessary - side trips (such as grand vineyards, huge yachts and vintage sports cars), all juxtaposed against the rustic, pastoral landscapes!

last, on the purely pyschological levet, one telling scene reveals a great deal about huegette - her sudden use of a shotgun at her parent's farmhouse. that initially shocking outburst presages the character trait she displays at the end of the film - and it is certainly not that of an airhead.

this is a film well worth going to see!


Fishmagic said...

Haven't checked in in awhile. Enjoyed the review; will have to put this on my list.

Take care, and congratulations on the top 5 finish in the BSA 5k.

rundangerously said...

thanks kurt!

i notice you've taken up tri's since finishing boston! awesome!