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Red Lights (2004)

Feux rouges (original title)
Unrated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 3 March 2004 (France)
Antoine and Helene drive to South France to return their kids from a holiday camp. The traffic is dense and the atmosphere growingly tense; he is an alcoholic and becomes increasingly drunk... See full summary »


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2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Vincent Deniard ...
L'homme en cavale / Man on the Run
Alain Dion ...
Le collègue de bureau
Olivier Fornara ...
Le serveur de la brasserie
Damien Givelet ...
Le présentateur des actualités (on tv)
Philippe Ivancic ...
Le serveur quartier Antoine
Candide Joseph ...
La femme accidentée
Brigitte Pain ...
La serveuse du bar routier
Igor Skreblin ...
Le Croate au téléphone / Man Yelling into Phone
Fabrice Robert ...
Le barman du Nirvana
Micky Finn ...
Le Rocker Irlandais / Irish Rock Musician
Moussa Boucetta ...
L'employé gare de Tours
Thomas Germaine ...
Le gendarme du 1er barrage
Patrick Servoin ...
Le chef de Gare de Ste Maure


Antoine and Helene drive to South France to return their kids from a holiday camp. The traffic is dense and the atmosphere growingly tense; he is an alcoholic and becomes increasingly drunk the more often they stop. After a fierce discussion they split and both have to face great danger during the night. Written by Moritz Muehlenhoff <jmm@inutil.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Always keep your eyes on the road


Unrated | See all certifications »




| |

Release Date:

3 March 2004 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Red Lights  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$3,202 (USA) (20 August 2004)


$49,251 (USA) (10 August 2012)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


At the beginning of the movie, the main characters meet at a cafe in the late afternoon. They then go home and get ready to travel to Bordeaux to pick up their kids. On the trip to Bordeaux, they are stuck in heavy traffic. Although it is now early evening, the vertical shadows cast by the cars indicate that the traffic scenes were shot at mid-day. See more »


Featured in The 20th IFP Independent Spirit Awards (2005) See more »


Für Alina
Written by Arvo Pärt
Performed by Alexander Malter
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User Reviews

A Nervy Thriller: Contemporary French Noir
5 September 2004 | by (New York, N.Y.) – See all my reviews

Director Cedric Kahn's "Red Lights" alternates between bright day and scary night. Antoine Dunand (Jean-Pierre Darrousin) is an insurance company employee who may enjoy a decent salary but he feels outclassed, and is out-earned I'm sure, by his corporate attorney spouse, Helene (Carole Bouquet). They have a nice, urban apartment and two young kids, a boy and a girl, both at camp eagerly awaiting pickup by their parents.

Antoine feels neglected by Helene, actually hated, and he even half-suspects her time with fellow male employees goes beyond business. He consoles himself with beer and scotch, preferably one after the other. He's clearly becoming, if he isn't already, an alcoholic.

The two leave to pick up their children from a distant camp. It's holiday-making time in France and the highways are jammed. An impatient Antoine, infuriated by the crawl, takes two successive detours, one off the main highway, the other for several refuelings at on-the-way bars. His driving becomes increasingly erratic, his wife's complaints more provocative. Eventually she realizes he's not just driving poorly, he's getting progressively more smashed. An argument ensues interrupting the classical music on their radio. Her anger at his driving is a coda for their growing estrangement. And then a bulletin announces a dangerous criminal has broken prison and is on the loose.

Recognizing that Antoine is really loaded and he won't yield the car keys, Helene runs off while her husband is knocking down scotch, leaving a note that she'll take a train.

Antoine is excessively upset at finding Helene missing-though befogged by booze, he also probably recognizes his own weirdness. Setting off to intercept her train he accepts a morosely quiet hitchhiker (Vincent Deniard), a fellow who offers no name but guess who he really is (hint above).

The film now enters a dark and isolated countryside where Antoine, despite his towering blood alcohol level, becomes justifiably afraid of his mostly silent young passenger.

The ride becomes a trip to terror for Antoine who sobers up enough to know he better master a deteriorating and life-threatening situation. Having done that he hunts for his wife. To tell more would be to spoil an original, well-acted story about fairly ordinary people who have let their marriage grow stale for all the usually mundane reasons that presage a relationship crisis.

The three main characters make "Red Lights," a title that superficially is about Antoine's reckless disregard of traffic signals but actually spotlights the warnings we receive and often ignore about impending personal crises, work. Largely unknown outside of French cinema, all three well-experienced and effective lead actors keep the viewer glued to the screen.

Compared to the current star vehicle hit, "Collateral," "Red Lights" carries forward true, outstanding noir drama by focusing on the straying from safe paths of ordinary people in common situations.


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