MAN ON THE TRAIN is a minor miracle of a film. The quiet story of how two wholly opposite aging men meet, interact, exchange philosophies, and mutate because of a simple chance meeting is not only fine writing, it is also a virtuoso turn for the talents of Jean Rochefort and Johnny Hallyday. Rochefort is a loquacious, bored, congenial poetry teacher in semi-retirement, a man who not only loves to talk about Schumann but plays Schumann on his piano in his very old and boring house - and reads and readies himself for a weekend surgery. Hallyday (a dark, sinister long term burglar) stops off the train in Rochefort's village, meets the talkative Rochefort and ends up taking up residence with him. Their interactions, soliloquies, shared meals, and exchanges on walks all prove mutually enlightening. The ending is so dear that to place it in a review would be a crime (!). Once again Patrice Leconte proves that the French "own" cinema when it comes to intimate and delicate stories. A brilliant duet for two phenomenal actors.
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. … more
... and if you compare this polished black jewel of a film with anything made in English, you'll have to recognize why they still hold the patent! Milan, the hard silent menacing dude played by Johnny Hallyday, arrives by train in the 'deadest' small town in France, intending to rendezvous with other baddies and knock off the local bank. The local hotel is closed for the season, but Milan is taken in by Monsieur Manesquier (Jean Rochefort), a retired teacher of literature … more
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
You wouldn't think a movie that's mostly two old guys talking could be a thriller, but that's exactly whatMan on the Trainis. French singer Johnny Hallyday plays a professional criminal who comes to a small town to take part in a robbery. By chance, he meets talkative Jean Rochefort (The Hairdresser's Husband), who invites the laconic Hallyday to stay at his house because the hotel is closed. The two form an unlikely friendship, each curious about (and envious of) the other's life. But all the while plans for the robbery continue, while Rochefort is preparing for a dangerous event of his own. The pitch-perfect performances makeMan on the Traincompletely involving. Rochefort and Hallyday play off of each other beautifully; it's impossible to put your finger on what makes these subtle, supple scenes so magnetic. Directed with spare authority by Patrice Leconte (Ridicule).--Bret Fetzer