Homme du Train, L' (Man on the Train, The) (2002)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Tentatively Due Out for Sale 15-May-2004
Available for Rent

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 87:03
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Patrice Leconte
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Jean Rochefort
Johnny Hallyday
Jean-François Stévenin
Charlie Nelson
Pascal Parmentier
Isabelle Petit-Jacques
Edith Scob
Maurice Chevit
Riton Liebman
Olivier Fauron
Véronique Kapoyan
Elsa Duclot
Armand Chagot
Case ?
RPI ? Music Pascal Estève


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    A pleasantly surprising and ultimately rewarding film, L'Homme du Train (The Man On The Train) is a slow boiler that will stun you with the depth of its performances and challenge you with its imaginative dialogue.

    Jean Rochefort stars as Joseph, an elderly citizen of a quiet town who can feel his growing age overcoming him. He has spent his entire life in his home town, a quiet village where the locals don't need to lock their doors or cars, and life is simple. While nearing the end of his long wait for open heart surgery and fearing he has led a life void of adventure he meets a stranger, Milan (Johnny Hallyday) who is in need of accommodation. Joseph invites him to spend a couple of days in his lonely house, a huge pad decorated with family heirlooms and Zen minimalism.

    Realising that his lodger is in town with sinister intentions, Joseph begins to admire his quiet new friend's alternate view of life, as the two learn from each other's past and steadily approach a defining day in both their lives.

    This is a fine piece of cinema, superbly scripted by Claude Klotz and beautifully directed by Patrice Leconte with an intriguing twist in the film's climax. Jean Rochefort's performance as Joseph is inspiring, and certainly the best I have seen from him since the disturbingly brilliant Barracuda - another underrated piece of French cinema that awaits a decent DVD release.

    L'Homme du Train is a rare gem, a thoroughly enjoyable character study and put simply - a plain old, good yarn.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This video transfer is presented in the film's intended aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. As you would expect for such a recent production, the transfer quality is very good.

    The transfer as a whole is very easy to watch, with few problems to report. The image is beautiful and sharp, with many great examples of fine detail such as the skin textures and tones on a close-up at 33:46. There is some minor film grain present now and then, most regularly during interior scenes. Black levels appeared solid and consistent, with admirable shadow detail. I could not detect any low level noise at all during the film.

    Colours are a little on the grey side for the first twenty minutes of the film, but appear to become more defined as the plot progresses. I certainly don't recall any bright colourful moments in the film, so bleeding and oversaturation are not an issue in this transfer.

    Both film and MPEG artefacts are completely absent in this transfer. I did note a slightly flaring moire effect on Rochefort's suit jacket at 32:00, but this was only very brief and was certainly not too distracting.

    The English subtitle stream is activated by default and appears to be paced consistently with the French dialogue. The slightly larger than normal font is white with a black outline and is very easy to read, placed often in the bottom black bar of the transfer.

    This disc is single layered, and as such does not contain a layer transition.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is only one audio option, the original French language presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s).

    Although I only understand a relatively small amount of French, the emotion and tone present within the dialogue was always prominent and easy to hear. Audio sync was similarly spot on, and didn't present any problems during the film.

    The score by Pascal Esteve is both haunting and intriguing, an innovative blend of string ensemble and slide guitar laced with intermittent threads of electronic backbeat. The result is at times disorienting, but ultimately unnerving and odd. Personally I found the score to be one of the most unique and memorable soundtracks I have heard for some time.

    Surround activity was minimal. I noted a number of occasions on which the soundtrack score spilled slightly to the rear channels, and similarly some brief crowd noise at 27:00, however this was the extent of the surround activity. Considering that this is predominately a dialogue based film I certainly do not feel betrayed by the lack of activity in the surround channels.

    The LFE channel was similarly dormant until the film's finale in which it added some bottom end to a few brief bursts of gunfire.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    None.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 release of this title is similarly bare, with not a single extra on the disc.

    Region 2 UK have gone slightly better, including the theatrical trailer but unfortunately the disc's English subtitles are burned into the video stream.

    The French Region 2 release is not surprisingly the best out there, including optional English subtitles on the feature and:

    Bear in mind, however, that none of the extras are English subtitled on the French release so you will need to be able to understand French to take advantage of them.

Summary

    L'Homme du Train is highly recommended for lovers of French cinema. All aspects of the production are first class and in particular the performances by Rochefort and Hallyday are sublime.

    The video transfer presents no major problems and is a pleasure to watch.

    The audio transfer is relatively frontal, but for a film such as this the surround usage is appropriate.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Monday, January 19, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX76PW10A 76cm Widescreen 100Hz. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

Other Reviews
AllZone4DVD - TerryJ

Comments (Add) NONE