Red Lights ( Feux rouges ) [DVD]
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Australia released, PAL/Region 0 DVD: LANGUAGES: French ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), English ( Subtitles ), ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN (1.85:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Cast/Crew Interview(s), Interactive Menu, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: This brilliant, sinister French thriller is a twisty road movie in which every sign points toward catastrophe. As night falls during the journey of an unhappily married couple from Paris to Bordeaux, the clogged highway takes them into descending levels of psychosexual hell. Jean-Pierre Darroussin's Antoine is a mousy, balding insurance salesman who hates his job, and resents his more successful wife, a sleek corporate lawyer. The movie is a study of male passive-aggression that comes up with a malicious Hemingway-esque solution to Antoine's masculinity crisis. When his wife, fed up with his drinking on the road, deserts him to take the train, he picks up a hitchhiker he knows might be a dangerous escaped convict, and courts the redemptive (and grisly) male rite of passage he's been seeking. Following Jean-Luc Godard's "Weekend" and Claire Denis's "Friday Night," "Red Lights" uses the traffic jam as a potent screen metaphor for something bigger. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: Berlin International Film Festival, ...Red Lights ( Feux rouges )
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Top Customer Reviews
Darroussin is on screen for virtually the entire movie, and for over half the film Antoine’s problems are unspoken and have to be acted more or less silently, by superb acting Darroussin achieves this as far as is possible, but there is no doubt it is a scenario that cannot fully succeed as a film, it requires the printed page to delve right inside of the characters mind. However in the second half there is a number of twists and dramatic turns building up tension to a conclusion that I found a little unconvincing, a resolution that what would have happened over a period of months, not immediately as written.
The photography is beautifully clean and sharp, and using Debussy’s “Nuage” as background music was an inspiration.
The DVD contains very long interviews with both Darroussin and Bouquet, both of whom are incredibly articulate and intelligent actors, these interviews are a highlight in themselves.
This is a film that inexorably builds in tension and atmosphere. The signature bars of Debussy's famous Nocturne, Nuages (of course played by Charles Munch on a French recording) add a distinct chill as the twists and turns unfold. Darroussin is equal in acting terms to everything that is thrown at him. I will never cease to be amazed at the scene where he attempts to make a phone call from a village bar tabac in a totally blitzed state. This is acting by the scruff of the neck or on a knife's edge and is a joy to behold. There are other moments like this along the way. Did anybody else notice that the couple drive the last of the Rover saloons - a nice touch?
And at the end of the way is a closing scene that will widen your eyes and wet them! This film is magic from start to finish and forvthis price with subtitles unmissable.
As it says on the back of the DVD case, this is a tense Hitchcockian thriller, and the tension is there pretty much throughout the whole film. The pace is slow at times and this builds on the tension that is already there.
The film is based on the 1953 Georges Simenon novel Feux Rouges with the film updating the story to the twenty-first century. (Having watched the film I would like to read the novel). Until I read the novel I won’t know how the director Cédric Khan has adapted it, but it is interesting to hear what the actors say about Georges Simenon’s novel in the “Extras” section that comes with the DVD.
The DVD contains the main film Red Light (1 hour 42 minutes), Scene Selection, Special Features include: Interview with Cédric Khan (21 minutes); Interview with Jean-Pierre Darroussin (21 minutes); Interview with Carole Bouquet (21 minutes), Theatrical Trailer, Filmographies of Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Carole Bouquet and Cédric Khan and a Biogrophy of Georges Simenon.
English subtitles are optional.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This adds to my dvd viewing library and gives such a lot of pleasure. ThanksPublished 23 months ago by Ms X
well worth watching for the portrayal of a husband gradually 'fermenting' extreme disquiet at his clever, successful professional wife's apparent lack of recognition of his needs... Read morePublished on 23 Mar. 2014 by Judith Matthews
The "special Features" bonus segment gives the director the floor and enough rope to hang himself. His monologue is rambling, unenlightening, somewhat incoherent and replete with... Read morePublished on 6 Feb. 2013 by Ronald Haak
"Red Lights," (Feux rouges), (2004) is a full-color, 105 minute French film, a crime drama/mystery/thriller, based on a standalone novel by Georges Simenon. Read morePublished on 21 Oct. 2011 by Stephanie De Pue
This was the film that made me realise that the French were capable of some absolute stinkers. Billed as a thriller, I lost interest when I started to count up the number of drinks... Read morePublished on 26 Jan. 2010 by Ian Thumwood
A dangerous prisoner escapes and crosses the path of our hen pecked fella as he is having one to many on his way to pick up the kids with the missus. Read morePublished on 9 Dec. 2009 by Papa Stinker
I thought it was going to be a film about marital tensions, but it turned out to be a film full of another sort of tension: an edge-of-the seat kind where one has the feeling that... Read morePublished on 23 Oct. 2008 by Bluebell
Antoine Dunan (Jean-Pierre Darroussin), a middling successful insurance salesman who works out of an office cube next to dozens of others, and his wife, Helene (Carole Bouquet), a... Read morePublished on 12 Aug. 2007 by C. O. DeRiemer