A bank robber arrives to do a job in a small French town and strikes up a friendship with a retired poetry teacher.

Director:

Patrice Leconte

Writer:

Claude Klotz
8 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Rochefort ... Monsieur Manesquier
Johnny Hallyday ... Milan
Jean-François Stévenin Jean-François Stévenin ... Luigi
Charlie Nelson Charlie Nelson ... Max
Pascal Parmentier Pascal Parmentier ... Sadko
Isabelle Petit-Jacques Isabelle Petit-Jacques ... Viviane
Edith Scob ... La soeur de Manesquier
Maurice Chevit Maurice Chevit ... Le coiffeur
Riton Liebman Riton Liebman ... Le costaud
Olivier Fauron Olivier Fauron ... Le collégien
Véronique Kapoyan Véronique Kapoyan ... Le boulngère
Elsa Duclot Elsa Duclot ... La serveuse
Armand Chagot Armand Chagot ... Le jardinier
Michel Laforest Michel Laforest ... Le pharmacien
Alain Guellaff Alain Guellaff ... Le chirugien
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Storyline

A teacher and a gangster meet by chance in a small town pharmacy. As a friendship of sorts develops between these opposite personalities, each starts to envy the other and by the week's end, everything will change for both of them. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A poet. A thief. Two strangers with nothing in common are about to trade their lives for a chance to cheat their destinies.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and brief violence | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Patrice Leconte wrote the role of the jaded robber specifically for Johnny Hallyday after seeing his performance in Jean-Luc Godard's Detective (1985). See more »

Quotes

Monsieur Manesquier: [after an abortive confrontation] I suppose my time hasn't come.
Milan: That took guts.
Monsieur Manesquier: I try picking a fight and find someone who likes me.
Milan: You'd have preferred broken bottles?
Monsieur Manesquier: [shrugs] It would have been something to remember.
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Soundtracks

Impromptu in A-flat Major, Op. 142 No. 2 (D. 935)
Written by Franz Schubert
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User Reviews

The best film of 2003
7 January 2004 | by kristinealainSee all my reviews

"Man on the train", directed by Patrice Leconte is "intimiste" French cinema at its best. It tells the story of a chance encounter and ensuing friendship between Milan, a gangster who is coming to a small French town to rob a bank and Manesquier, a retired professor of poetry who has lived there his whole life. The two protagonists could not be more different and yet, each one becomes fascinated by the other's life. Soon, Milan tries on slippers and Manesquier is shooting a gun at soda cans. Was Milan's life wasted because he never had the strength to fill his life with the structure he so desires? Was Manesquier's life wasted because he never had the strength to escape the structured life he so loathes? Will they go all the way and actually exchange lives? The movie is extremely well directed and photographed, with grainy blueish colors that support each character's melancholy. The script is tight and leaves room for silent moments which are as important to the story as the dialogue (a concept unknown in Hollywood). Every word has a deeper meaning than its litteral one. In one of the best scenes of the movie, the elegant poetry professor Manesquier puts on Milan's leather jacket and stands in front of the mirror saying in English: "The name is Earp...Wyatt Earp". But in the end, what makes the movie such a gem is the talent of the two lead actors who, like their characters, are such extreme opposites that their screen relationship could easily have ended up devoid of any chemestry. Jean Rochefort is an intellectual and one of France's greatest and most subtle living actors. Johnny Hallyday is the uneducated, over-the-top rock'n roll singer and social icon who has monopolized the #1 spot in French music charts since 1960 and who has been derided by the French intelligentsia ever since. Until the movie, Rochefort himself was no fan of Hallyday, though he likes to say with a grin: "Madame Rochefort, on the other hand...". They have since become friends. It, reportedly, took a lot of effort by Rochefort and Leconte to make Hallyday comfortable enough to act opposite Rochefort whom he saw as a towering icon. They most certainly succeeded since, in the end, it is the surprising subtelty of Hallyday's performance that makes the movie so poignant. Despite the botox injections and the face lifts, his Mount Rushmore face looks like that of a man who has been to hell and back a few hundred times. He has such presence and charisma that you can't take your eyes off him whenever he appears on the screen. Though he plays Milan with a minimalist approach, both in demeanor and delivery, he manages to display the most intense emotions in a simple grin, a gesture or a stare. The way he smokes Manesquier's pipe while explaining Balzac's "Eugenie Grandet" (which he has obviously never read) to a private student of Manesquier will make you chuckle. The way he looks at Manesquier when he leaves his house at the end of the movie will simply break your heart... "Man on the train" is a gentle, tender film which asks big questions in little ways. Let's pray it never gets remade in Hollywood...


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Details

Country:

France | UK | Germany | Japan

Language:

French

Release Date:

2 October 2002 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Man on the Train See more »

Filming Locations:

Annonay, Ardèche, France See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$41,138, 11 May 2003

Gross USA:

$2,542,020

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,727,906
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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