A bank robber arrives to do a job in a small French town and strikes up a friendship with a retired poetry teacher.

Director:

Patrice Leconte

Writer:

Claude Klotz
8 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Rochefort ... Monsieur Manesquier
Johnny Hallyday ... Milan
Jean-François Stévenin Jean-François Stévenin ... Luigi
Charlie Nelson Charlie Nelson ... Max
Pascal Parmentier Pascal Parmentier ... Sadko
Isabelle Petit-Jacques Isabelle Petit-Jacques ... Viviane
Edith Scob ... La soeur de Manesquier
Maurice Chevit Maurice Chevit ... Le coiffeur
Riton Liebman Riton Liebman ... Le costaud
Olivier Fauron Olivier Fauron ... Le collégien
Véronique Kapoyan Véronique Kapoyan ... Le boulngère
Elsa Duclot Elsa Duclot ... La serveuse
Armand Chagot Armand Chagot ... Le jardinier
Michel Laforest Michel Laforest ... Le pharmacien
Alain Guellaff Alain Guellaff ... Le chirugien
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Storyline

A teacher and a gangster meet by chance in a small town pharmacy. As a friendship of sorts develops between these opposite personalities, each starts to envy the other and by the week's end, everything will change for both of them. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A poet. A thief. Two strangers with nothing in common are about to trade their lives for a chance to cheat their destinies.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and brief violence | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jean Rochefort died in October 2017. Two months later, Johnny Hallyday died. See more »

Quotes

Monsieur Manesquier: [after an abortive confrontation] I suppose my time hasn't come.
Milan: That took guts.
Monsieur Manesquier: I try picking a fight and find someone who likes me.
Milan: You'd have preferred broken bottles?
Monsieur Manesquier: [shrugs] It would have been something to remember.
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Connections

Remade as Man on the Train (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Impromptu in A-flat Major, Op. 142 No. 2 (D. 935)
Written by Franz Schubert
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User Reviews

Trading places always a dodgy business
7 September 2003 | by Philby-3See all my reviews

As we left the theatre someone inevitably said, `that was very French.' And so it was, or at least it was a movie that Hollywood would never have made. Washed-up bank robber meets retired French teacher and they become friends, each hankering after the other's lifestyle. The teacher is facing open-heart surgery, the robber the prospect of a dangerous bank job with three unreliable associates. All this set in a really boring small town in the Rhone Valley (filmed mainly in Annonoy with funding of course from the local Film Commission).

Yet it works. Watching the two principals, Jean Rochefort as the teacher and Johnny Hallyday as the robber is like watching Torvill and Dean – perfect synchronisation, but with humour added. There's not a false move and the script is seamless – it seems quite inevitable that such an improbable relationship could develop. Somehow we don't notice the improbabilities, such as the gang stealing a huge (by French standards) and rare BMW 740 for use as a getaway car the evening before the robbery from a car park in the centre of town, and making no effort to conceal it until the robbery at 10 heurs the next day.

Perhaps the relationship can be explained on the basis that Jean likes to talk and Johnny is content to listen. As they get to know each other Jean becomes quite concerned about his guest and Johnny, for his part, comes to admire his host. He even upbraids Jean's quite pleasant mistress for boring Jean with talk of her children's misdemeanours.

The film ends in a flurry of `maybe things might have been different if…'. You can choose the alternative ending you like in fact, though the fantasy is more palatable that reality. Unlike Hollywood, French filmmakers trust their audience, and it is unlikely too many viewers will feel cheated here.


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Details

Country:

France | UK | Germany | Japan

Language:

French

Release Date:

2 October 2002 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Man on the Train See more »

Filming Locations:

Annonay, Ardèche, France See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$41,138, 11 May 2003

Gross USA:

$2,542,020

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,727,906
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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