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A French film of ‘magicians’


movie review by David Brown

The French suspense movie Roman de Gare plays — it could be said, plays magically — with one’s emotions. But not the ones you might expect.

Most American movie-goers, I’d wager, will watch and at first their trained expectations of sudden death and/or mayhem will be triggered.

But then, gradually and elegantly, deeper emotions are elicited as veteran French director Claude Lelouch (1966’s A Man and a Woman) deals up twist after twist, and below the surface feelings, and it is this smart elicitation that makes the film a joy. Expect to be surprised at how many personal principles you find yourself confronting

The plot spins around a woman abandoned by her fiancée on the way to introducing him to her family, an escaped serial killer who also is a magician, a popular best-selling novelist and her troublesome ghost writer. And the spin turns in various directions.

Roman de Gare serves up fine acting by Dominique Pinon, a dog-faced actor immensely popular on the continent. Audrey Dana and Fanny Ardant are among a solid group of character actors making every moment count.

Pinon and Dana dominate the number of scenes, but it’s Ardant who gives the film its true texture. She provides a rich collage of facial expressions, including killing smiles and would-kill stares that show why she has been on top of her game for so long.

It turns out there is more than one magician in this piece. I counted to four, including the direction by Lelouch when I forgot I was keeping track.

Don’t miss this unusual film.

Mojo Approved



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