Koch on Film

“The Good Thief” (+)
This film has lots of action and enough plots to fill several movies, which is why at times it is confusing. There are wonderful scenes of Marseille and Monte Carlo, the music track is terrific, and the acting of a number of individuals is excellent.

Nick Nolte, his character on drugs, looks as he did when he was recently arrested for driving under the influence: bedraggled and having a bad hair day. I don’t know if the film preceded or followed that arrest, but his role in this film appears to be art imitating life.

Although Bob (Nick Nolte) is a thief and a low-life character, he is liked by many people including Roger (Tcheky Karyo) a detective who pursues him. The plot centers on a casino heist. One involves the heist of artworks of master artists—a Picasso—and the other heist is the casino’s bankroll. There is no chemistry between Bob (Nick Nolte) and Anne (Nutsa Kukhianidze), but her portrayal of a Russian prostitute using drugs is well done. (All of the drug scenes, especially those involving Nolte, were interesting and credible. One out-of-the-blue, beautifully acted scene will have you wondering, “Was that really him?” That’s all I can say about that without giving anything away.)

Since there are so few good current films, this one slips just past the guardrail and gets a plus.

“The Man on the Train” (-)
This French flick with English subtitles was recommended by most of the critics and touted as the best film available for viewing last week. It received good reviews primarily because of the performances of Johnny Hallyday and Jean Rochefort. These actors have a huge following in France and do an excellent job in the film. But it’s not enough.

Milan (Hallyday) is on a train having just been released from prison. He gets off in a small French town in need of medication for a headache. At the pharmacy he meets Manesquier (Rochefort) and the two become fast friends. Manesquier, a somewhat prissy, aging, local teacher invites Milan to spend a few days in his rundown chateau. Both men are in their 70s and one might suspect a homosexual liaison is about to take place. It does not, but a modest romance does take place between Manesquier and Viviane (Isabelle Petit-Jacques).

We soon learn that Milan is planning a bank robbery with a clutch of fellow thieves. The theft takes place, as do crosses and double-crosses.

Although the acting was outstanding, I cannot recommend the film. The plot was occasionally intriguing, but overall, it lacked suspense, was pretty boring, and some scenes made no sense at all. As a result, Morpheus, God of Sleep, occasionally tried to cast his spell over me during the film, but I successfully resisted.


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