Monday, June 2, 2008
Roman de Gare
On the strength of a decent-looking preview that I saw when watching the Audrey Tautou romantic comedy Priceless a few weeks ago, I went to see the new French suspense thriller Roman de Gare with three great acting performances by Dominique Pinon, Fanny Ardant and Audrey Dana. Loved it.
It's a great vehicle for Dominique Pinon, who up until now is mainly known for playing minor creepy roles in movies such as Amelie (2001), Delicatessen (1991) and City of Lost Children (1995). Here he gets a full fledged leading dramatic role, and as improbable as it may seem for his looks, a romantic and compassionate role.
In Roman de Gare, Pinon plays a gifted novelist who is the ghost writer for a famous novelist (Fanny Ardant) who apparently can't write at all. (Or that might be a lie and he's really an escaped child rapist.) While wandering around along French highways in his luxury car he stumbles across a young woman (Audrey Dana) whose relationship has just ended in a violent argument at a gas station. Her hard-luck story becomes the seeds of his next novel. (Or maybe he's making it up.) To pay back the favor he agrees to pose as her fiance during her visit to her farmer family in the alps...which leads to some wonderful bedroom farce comedy and a lovely portrait of rural France. When he finishes this escapade he meets up with Ardant, who eagerly wants to know what he's writing for "her" next novel. He's decided to break their contract and he wants to write the novel under his own name this time. But the novel is too good for her to allow it, and what happens next is...sorry, that would be spoiling it.
It's great to see Pinon in a leading role. It doesn't surprise me that he pulls it off so well, since he's been so magnificent at creating memorable, quirky characters. If you saw Diva when it came out, you probably will never forget his punk hoodlum character whose only lines of "I hate cars," "I hate Beethoven," and "I hate parking lots" were among the funniest in the movie. The other great gag in Diva is the end where it's finally revealed what music he has been listening to in his earphone the whole time.
Highly recommended, a very enjoyable film.