It's remarkable how few of the many adaptations of Georges Simenon novels have made good films. The Man who Watched Trains Go By from 1952 is a particular instance, all the more regrettable since the novel is a near masterpiece.
This version of Simenon's Feux Rouges on the whole fails to break the trend. Director Cedric Kahn, who jointly wrote the screenplay, tries hard to set the thriller aspects of the story on a firm character foundation. He succeeds in respect of Antoine, the main character, whose lack of self-confidence with respect to his high-flying wife manifests itself on this Friday night in a need to assert himself through drunken aggression. But Carole Bouquet's wife is never developed beyond a sketchy outline, and her eventual story therefore struggles to move the viewer. Given that the ending of the film seems to me to be rushed and unsatisfactory, we are left with something that falls uneasily between disappearing character + slasher movie and a psychological drama.
But there are things to admire in the direction. The normality of Paris life at the start contrasts nicely with the descent into frustration and fear that follows. There are effective scenes on the road (all apparently filmed in the studio), on the telephone and in roadside bars, and the unnaturally deserted hospital makes an unsettling concluding venue. The scarcity of music makes it the more effective when it is employed. J-P Darroussin is very good as Antoine, though C Bouquet has regrettably little to do.
But ultimately the picture is disappointing in that the slow build-up of tension leads nowhere very much, and I would question whether most viewers would care over much about the fate of the two protagonists.