L’Homme Du Train

Slo-mo drama starring ageing French heartthrob

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OPENS MARCH 21, CERT 12A, 90 MINS

The man of the title is Johnny Hallyday, a jaded figure who arrives in a featureless small French town with the aim of robbing the local bank. By chance, he meets retired schoolteacher Jean Rochefort, an amiable, lonely old man who offers him a place to stay. In the three days they spend together, it gradually becomes clear that each lived a life that the other secretly coveted. There’s a sense of impending tragedy in the film as it counts down to a momentous day for both the men?Hallyday’s bank heist coincides with Rochefort’s open-heart surgery.

The beauty of this slow-burning drama is in the flashes of childlike mischief in veteran actor Jean Rochefort’s eyes and in the thundercloud of weariness that bears down on Hallyday’s lizard-skinned criminal. Director Patrice Leconte’s film is all about the acting, and you may be enthralled by Hallyday’s rock-star magnetism and Rochefort’s old-world charm, or bored to tears by line after line of opaque dialogue.

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