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Man on the Train (L'Homme du Train)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Jean Rochefort, Johnny Hallyday, Jean-François Stévenin, Charlie Nelson, Pascal Parmentier
  • Directors: Patrice Leconte
  • Writers: Claude Klotz
  • Producers: Carl Clifton, Christophe Audeguis, Philippe Carcassonne, Stuart Hatwell
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: November 25, 2003
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000CABJX
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,920 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Man on the Train (L'Homme du Train)" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Patrice Leconte’s (Girl on the Bridge) MAN ON THE TRAIN tells the touching story of two men from different walks of life as they develop an unexpected friendship and change each other’s view of life at the last possible moment. Milan (Hallyday), a thief, steps off the train in a small town in the French Alps where he plans to rob a local bank. By chance, after he is unable to find a room for the night, he encounters Manesquier (Rochefort), a retired poetry teacher whose sedentary lifestyle bores even himself. Sharing nothing in common except important plans for the weekend – one is to rob a bank and the other is to go in for open-heart surgery – the two men begin talking and soon develop a respect for one another, as well as a secret longing to live the type of lifestyle the other lives. And, as the friendship grows even stronger, each man defies his personality to explore his yearning for the life of the other.

Amazon.com

You wouldn't think a movie that's mostly two old guys talking could be a thriller, but that's exactly what Man on the Train is. 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 make Man on the Train completely 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

Customer Reviews

Like many French films, this one draws in many timeless themes.
FrKurt Messick
If you like films which makes you think and feel, which make you a better one - at least watch it.
JK
In the end, both men, whose lives seem so divergent, meet the same fate.
Thomas M. Seay

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Thomas M. Seay on June 11, 2005
Format: DVD
We imagine ourselves to have free will, but most humans follow a trajectory set for them by society, family, circumstances. While possible to alter his fate, an individual will rarely put forward the strenuous effort to do so.

In "Man on the Train", two apparently different men meet by odd chance in a small town in France. One, Milan, is a rugged, tough criminal, an adventurer, a "doer". The other, Manesquier, is a frail, provincial retired school teacher...a dullard, a dreamer. Despite these differences, both men are weary of their lives, their destinies, to which they seem tethered like oxen to cart.

Milan dislikes his rootless life of crime. Manequier is bored with his predictable, provincial life. The two meet at a time when mortality confonts each one. The criminal intuits that an apparently easy bank robbery could be dangerous. The school-teacher will undergo triple-bypass surgery. Death provides the impetus and the serendipitous encounter provide the opportunity for the two men to shirk their fates momentarily and live the life they dream. Milan can be a comfortable "bourgeois de campagne" and Manequier, a roaming daredevil.

In the end, both men, whose lives seem so divergent, meet the same fate. One remembers, while viewing this film, Heidegger's instructions on the importance of keeping death present in our mind, if we are to lead complete lives. The two heroes of this story-at least briefly-accomplish this. Johny Hallyday (Milan) turns out to be a much better actor than pop-star in this thought-provoking, nuanced film.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Tucker Andersen VINE VOICE on July 9, 2003
This is a quintessential French film, which in this case adds to the charm and the attraction. And the action is so leisurely that the subtitles are not a problem or distraction although in some instances they are not well timed or seem to be incomplete. The story begins with THE MAN ON THE TRAIN, Milan (played by Johnny Halladay) arriving in a small French town dressed in a black motorcycle jacket and carrying a case that includes three handguns among his possessions. His character projects a sense of foreboding, and we soon learn that he and some associates are planning to rob a local bank. Meanwhile, he has engaged in a chance encounter with Manesquier (Jean Rochefort), a retired schoolteacher. Milan essentially invites himself to stay at Manequier's estate when he discovers that the local hotel is closed. They are opposites in every way, Milan is gruff and his presence augurs a sense of danger and potential misfortune; Manesquier is genteel, a retired schoolteacher and gentleman of such ordinary habits that he has eaten lunch in the same local restaurant every day for thirty years. Somehow, a poignant friendship develops as they each see in the other the road not taken in their lives. Yet, they and the moviegoers realize that it is probably too late to change the inevitabilty of the events already set in motion.
The charm of the film is its leisurely pace and the attention to detail. We are constantly treated to small surprises and unexpected twists that allow for wonderful character development. Once such example is when Milan tutors a student who appears in Manesquier's absence in the study of Balzac. The performances are captivating, and since I was unfamiliar with either of the leads they totally assumed the roles in which they had been cast.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. Calhoun on February 17, 2004
Format: DVD
At first glance the two protagonists in MAN ON THE TRAIN appear to have nothing in common. Monsieur Manesquier (Jean Rochefort) is a solitary retired schoolteacher who desires some type of companionship when he first encounters a rough-looking younger Milan (Johnny Hallyday) buying aspirin in the chemist shop. After starting a conversation outside on the deserted street Manequier ascertains that Milan just arrived by train and is looking for a place to stay. The other details of his stay regarding robbing a bank Milan keeps hidden, but not for long. Manequier invites Milan to stay at his house that is filled with antiques and old books. As time progresses these two men grow a mutual fondness for each other and envy the life that the other has led. They don't hesitate to critique and romanticize each other to the point where they begin to adopt each other's characteristics. Manequier offers to help Milan in the bank robbery while Milan takes over tutoring students in poetry and literature. Their lives become intertwined and linked. MAN ON THE TRAIN is a wonderful film filled with sincere emotions and subtle humor. It is a film that delves deep into an unlikely male friendship without all the macho humor and homophobic tensions that are often the product of Hollywood. There is a reason why I admire and enjoy French cinema, and this film is just one more affirmation. Recommended.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 23, 2005
Format: DVD
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.

Manesquier soon learns why Milam is in town, and appears to accept this without judgment. As the days go by toward Saturday, Milam finds himself reading books from Manesquier's library, asking to wear a pair of slippers in the evening, accepting a pipe of tobacco to smoke. Once Manesquier is late and a young pupil shows up at the door. Milam takes the boy in and leads him through the assignment on Balzac. "I'll be your teacher today," he says, although he has never read Balzac. He does an excellent job of it. Manesquier tries on Milam's black leather jacket and holds the gun he finds in Milam's luggage, one of three. He visits the barber shop and asks for a haircut, something between just out of jail and soccer player. He asks Milam to teach him how to shoot, and wishes he could help in the robbery. Both men, so different from each other, accept each other for who each is. Each recognizes a longing to have led a different kind of life than what he has; in fact, to have led the kind of life that the other has led.

Saturday arrives. Manesquier goes to the hospital for the operation. Milam meets two accomplices and goes to the bank for the robbery. The conclusion of the movie is mysterious, elegant, sad and satisfying. Both men find, in a way, their new lives.
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