Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Trilogy: On The Run (Cavale)

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 14 March 2004 at the Brattle Theater (Sunday Eye-Opener)

On The Run was, if it matters, either the last or the second part of Lucas Belvaux's trilogy of interconnected movies to be released in France (the IMDB is inconclusive, though the poster appears to support "second"), but the first here in the US. As with An Amazing Couple, though, the order is relatively unimportant; the two main characters of On The Run were downright peripheral in An Amazing Couple. The movies are also different genres.

I found On The Run to be a fairly enjoyable thriller/drama, certainly stronger as an example of its genre than An Amazing Couple. It opens with a fairly well-done escape sequence, not done in grand blockbuster style, but thrilling and tense.

The man escaping from prison is Bruno (writer/director Belvaux), who has spent 15 years behind bars for terroristic crimes that aren't spelled out until later in the movie. Upon returning to Grenoble, he looks up members of his old cell, most of whom have in the interim become middle-class citizens with families, businesses, and lives. Jeanne (Catherine Frot), feeling guilty about Bruno having been in jail while she became a schoolteacher, offers the most assistance, though reluctantly.

Having already seen one other portion of the trilogy and having a vague idea of the plot of the third, it's difficult to watch this and enjoy it as a movie without a lot else going on. When Jeanne hides Bruno in a vacation cabin owned by the characters of An Amazing Couple, is this an awkward tie-in or something I wouldn't think twice about if I didn't even know An Amazing Couple existed? I can't be sure. It seems awkward to me, but I've probably found similar scenes suspenseful in the past.

The movie can, I think, be enjoyed on its own, though some bits seem missing - why was Jean-Jean breaking Bruno out of prison now, where did the well-equipped hiding places come from, and exactly who were the sides in the last shoot-out? The ending seemed kind of random, but I liked its understatedness; it emphasized how far Bruno had drifted from everyone else he knew.

Thus far, having seen two out of three of the "Trilogy" movies, I find myself admiring the idea, but not being quite so fond of the individual films, or the execution of the concept.

No comments: