Claude Klotz

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Man On The Train Review


Excellent
We need a new name for the sort of genre that Man on the Train inhabits. On the surface, it's strictly a buddy movie: In a sleepy and provincial French town, a thief, Milan (Johnny Hallyday), meets a retired poetry teacher, Manesquier (Jean Rochefort). Milan's in town to take part in a bank robbery and Manesquier, who's fascinated by the rogue's life, eagerly invites Milan into his home. From there, we'd usually get some blather about loyalty and a hailstorm of bullets by the end. But Man on the Train is after something much more elegant and intimate. Capturing how two very different personalities weave together, it's a lovely essay on masculine friendship. It's a chick flick in a goatee, My Dinner With André wielding a switchblade.

Plot-wise, very little actually happens. Or, rather, small things pile up: As Milan takes up residence for a week in Mansquier's dowdy-yet-noble country house, the two share chit-chat about their pasts and their plans. But unlike My Dinner With André, the conversations have their feet on the ground and a sense of humor (Mansquier proudly notes that "not one pupil was molested in 30 years on the job" as a teacher). Milan plots out his Saturday heist with some hesitance, and we learn that Mansquier has his own anxieties to work through: He has a triple bypass planned for the same time as well. Students, relatives, and mistresses pass through the country house, and it slowly becomes clear that each man wants the other's life: Mansquier's house is the home Milan never had, and the rootless life of Milan is what Mansquier has always lusted for.

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Claude Klotz

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Man on the Train Movie Review

Man on the Train Movie Review

We need a new name for the sort of genre that Man on the Train...

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