User Reviews (4)

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  • This film does not certainly break new grounds but it takes us back to the good old days when they took enough time to write a story (and/or to choose a good writer:Patricia Highsmith,Boileau-Narcejac,here Donald E. Westlake).

    An user has already pointed out how the film borrowed from "strangers on a train" .François Cluzet and Bernard Giraudeau give terrific performances.I agree with the user who wrote that Karine Viard's behavior did not make much sense at the end of the movie,but I do not think it's the actress's fault.The S/M scene using Marie Laforet's "Viens Viens" is also a big mistake,the words to the song having nothing to do with what happens on the screen.

    But if you want to see a great French actor,just watch Giraudeau.

    NB: if the film may sometimes seem incoherent to you, particularly the evolution of the character acted by Karin Viard, blame it on a butchered editing. The original film lasted about two hours and a half.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Two men, vague acquaintances meet on a train to Marseille. One Giraudeau (Brice) is a successful author of pot-boilers, the other Ben (Cluzet) also an author of thrillers has won critical acclaim but little commercial success. Brice is outwardly successful but is suffering from writers block due to a difficult on-going divorce. Why doesn't he publish Ben's next manuscript under his own name and they split the proceeds, some 200,000 dollars. Oh, there's only one catch, Ben has to kill Brice's wife or she will take the money as part of the divorce settlement. Brice suggests that as crime writers they are the ideal candidates to pull off the perfect murder, especially as there is little to link the two men.

    Comparisons with Hitchcock's Stranger's on a Train are obvious but this movie has an altogether more complex moral than crime doesn't pay. But first what a strange coincidence that François Cluzet, whose ex-wife Marie Trintignant was battered to death, is in a movie where he performs a similar act. What will Marie and François's son make of it?

    The cinematography, while tipping a hat to Hitchcock and Becker's One Deadly Summer shows many subtle touches. A horrific scene where a woman is beaten to death is viewed through the distorting reflection of a vase. Cluzet's walk down the steps of the Marseille railway station and cut to him entering a red painted room are like his descent into hell. Then there is the acceptance of food from the plate of the woman he will eventually kill.

    Of the two leads, Giraudeau's acting is superb considering his recent serious illness and Cluzet is on-form as well.

    <*** attention slight spoiler ***> In the end it is this unlikely and reluctant assassin who proves most cool headed while the people surrounding him descend into their own personal torments. A surprising and horrific ending leaves you wondering whether Ben was really happier before his fateful meeting with Brice when events started to spin out of his control.
  • Ben meets former colleague Brice in a train station book-shop. Ben is a down-on-his-luck writer with a manuscript but no publisher, Brice is a rich & successful author, but has writer's block due to his current marital problems. Brice devises a plan that will benefit both of them - however, it will only work if his estranged wife is out of the picture. Ben initially rejects the idea, but after divulging the plan to his strangely intrigued wife, he is persuaded to commit the murder. So begins his descent into hell, with enough Hitchcockian references and moments of black humour to keep this jaded film-goer happy. Film does lose its way a bit in the last two reels, but basically held my interest for its 100 minutes.A delicious thriller.
  • I have been very disappointed seeing that film. The story of a man who is a writer, who usually writes thrillers, on the edge of disaster, who asks another writer with no publisher to share the benefits of a mutual writing. Having to involve a perfect murder like they usually write was a good idea, it was just not well developed. Moreover, the emphasis on the overexposure of the images is ad nauseam. The violence, the blood, the sadistic attitudes of the characters might have been in the book (which I admit I did not read) but it did not show well on the big screen. There could have been good ideas, the performance as an actor of Bernard Giraudeau as Brice Kantor is undeniably good; he has this ability to play all kinds of characters and this one might not be his best but he excels in playing the bad guy. Karin Viard is yet again a bad actress, when she gets angry, it is just not credible; and François Cluzet should stay with Chabrol when he accepts his films.