Roman de Gare

This entertaining Gallic diversion is part romantic comedy, part murder mystery, part suspense thriller, and part meditation on professional jealousy.

The story opens with a famous novelist (Fanny Ardant) being questioned by the police about a couple of her "victims". We have a handful of brief flashbacks to indistinct points in the novelist's life, and then settle into what seems at first to be a completely unconnected story: a man (Dominique Pinon) is driving his car through France late one night. He witnesses an argument between a soon-to-be-married young couple and offers the girl (Audrey Dana) a ride once her fiance drives off in her car. Pinon, with his hatchet face, is easy to buy as anything: Is he an escaped serial killer known as "The Magician"? Is he a schoolteacher who has just left his wife and children? Is he the aggrieved ghost writer for Ardant? Or is he someone else entirely?

The film plays with expectations nicely, and when Ardant enters the picture again, it's just another of the plot's many fun twists.

"Roman de gare" is the French term for "airport novel", an engaging if disposable action/mystery book typically found in airport bookstores. This movie lives up to its title rather well. It's not a great or profound film, but it makes for an enjoyable couple of hours. If you want a night out at the movies, are tired of Hollywood fare, yet aren't necessarily up for anything heavy, then Roman de Gare is for you.