DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

 
MAN ON THE TRAIN (director/writer: Mary McGuckian; screenwriter: based on the film "L'homme du train" written by Patrice Leconte/Claude Klotz; cinematographer: Stefan Von Bjorn; editor: Matthew Booth; music: Larry Mullen Jr./Simon Clime; cast: Donald Sutherland (The Professor), Larry Mullen Jr. (The Criminal), Graham Greene (Sado), Kate O'Toole (Vivienne), Tony Nardi (Loco), Carlo Rota (Max), Paula Boudreau (Tobacco clerk); Runtime: 104; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Martin Katz/Larry Mullen Jr./Mary McGuckian; Tribeca Films; 2011-Canada)

"Worth seeing for the hammy performance by Donald Sutherland."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz 

An English-language VOD, that is an unnecessary remake of the successful 2002 French film by Patrice Leconte and of Sergio Sollima's Face to Face in 1967; but, nevertheless, is entertaining. It's faithful to a fault of Leconte's film, but unable to replicate its storytelling grace. The film was worth seeing for the hammy performance by Donald Sutherland. Northern Ireland director Mary McGuckian ("Rag Tale"/"Best"/"This is the Sea"), co-writer with Claude Klotz, makes it more a character study than a plot driven film.

A young laconic musician career criminal, who goes unnamed (Larry Mullen Jr., in his acting debut), gets off the train in an unnamed small town by the sea and hooks up with the lonely, chatty, repressed elderly local retired poetry professor (Donald Sutherland) in a pharmacy. The professor lets the stranger have a few of his prescription migraine pills and since the only hotel in town is closed in the off-season, the professor lets the stranger reside for a few days in his stately rococo mansion.

The stranger awaits for his three unreliable gang members to arrive, as they plan on robbing the local bank. The professor discovers this, but is excited about the stranger's thrilling lifestyle and wishes he led such an adventurous life instead of the safe and stuffy one he lived. The stranger, on the other hand, wishes he led a respectable staid life and was as well-respected as the professor, as a deep bond develops between the opposites. The two chat and examine their lives, and on Saturday the professor will have an operation and the stranger will rob the bank.

REVIEWED ON 11/21/2012       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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