Friday, August 15, 2008

Movies: Roman de Gare

I like movies I can watch more than once (Shangrila Towers' movie review system is mostly based on this characteristic, by the way). There are a lot of ways to accomplish this feat: great special effects, excellent performances, an interesting premise. Heck, even a stirring score can lift a ho-hum movie into something that merits a second look.

I do think, however, that the best way to ensure repeat viewings is to have a strong plot, and "Roman de Gare," (literally, "train station novel") a film from Claude Lelouch, happens to have a decent one:

A man (played by Dominique Pinon) encounters a jilted woman at a gas station. Is this man the Magician, a serial rapist/pedophile/murderer? Or is he a schoolteacher abandoning his old life? Or perhaps the ghostwriter of a famous novelist? The answer comes, in time, and once you know how everything shakes out, watching the movie again for Pinon's performance (he's a regular in Jean-Pierre Jeunet's films) is a fun little exercise in perspective.

Aside from Dominique Pinon's rare appearance in a starring role, however, there just isn't much going on in the movie. Things seem to happen in Roman de Gare for the same reason that they happen in the trashy suspense books one reads in an airport - because it makes for a good story. And a lot of the twists are pretty transparent, so if you're really on the ball I think the movie loses a lot of its charm.

Rating: 7/10


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