“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. He was a 20th century author who was Belgian-born, and undoubtedly the most famous French language master of mysteries: he created Inspector Maigret of the Paris Judiciare, subject of many films. This particular movie was directed by Cedric Kahn,(THE FORTY-YEAR OLD VIRGIN). It stars the handsome Carole Bouquet(THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE) as Helene, high-powered corporate lawyer wife of Antoine, played by the everyman-looking Jean-Pierre Darroussin, who’s an entirely more ordinary creature entirely, and works at some job in an insurance company, as did Simenon’s father. Antoine and Helene are not getting along well; he’s irritated by her demanding job. But they’ve gotten into the car together to drive to the south of France, there to pick their children up from camp, and then on to Helene’s family. Traffic is heavy, as the entire city of Paris heads south “en vacances,”and the atmosphere in the car is increasingly tense. Antoine is drinking heavily, getting drunk and foolish, and stops at one bar too many. He and Helene fight; he orders her to stay in the car, and takes the keys. She says she will take a taxi to the train. When Antoine finally drags himself away from the latest bar, Helene is gone. They will each face a frightening, dangerous, long night alone. Simenon has been accused by practically every critic of being a misogynist, a charge he always attempted to refute by claiming that he’d slept with 10,000 women: what a defense! But this film and the novel on which it is based certainly seem misogynistic: if only Helene had not been involved in her high-powered job, but had remained barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, reliant on Antoine’s income, this ordeal might never have happened to either of them. As is, Antoine gets drunk, and Helene pays for it. However, you’ll certainly never get a better view of the French road system, its roadside bars, and the men who drink in them. Antoine keeps running into strange guys in these taverns: Micky Finn plays an Irish rocker spouting philosophy in one. Furthermore, the suspense is screwed tighter and tighter; even on a repeat viewing, I was worried about the couple. Worthy of comparison to Alfred Hitchcock, Anglo-American director of thrillers par excellence ([[ASIN:0783225849 Psycho (Collector's Edition)]], [[ASIN:B002W7J3SO North By Northwest]]): worth a look, especially if you're a Simenon fan.
Pages to are hidden for
"Red Lights"Please download to view full document