ROMAN DE GARE
Review by Jim ReynoldsÂ©2008
This is a review of the subject film has three objectives. The first is to help a potential viewer to decide whether of not to see the film based upon his/her likely personal preferences. The second objective is to add what I would have done as the writer/director /actor/studio to make the film more enjoyable. The third objective is to help the reader interpret other reviews and view trailers in a way so as to better decide what information is helpful to the reader or viewer in choosing a good movie experience.
â€œRoman de Gareâ€ is mystery-thrille r filmed in French with subtitles in an enjoyable but non-spectacular fashion, with characters that are different and interesting depending upon your point view and a very cleverly crafted plot supported by well written dialog. In short, if you like good plots that force you to pay attention to the dialog in order not have essential plot threads not get lost, that requires you to hold judgment of the meaning of scenes and dialog until they are later clarified and have hero and heroines not too different from people you could have met, then this film is for you. If you have trouble with following plot lines, want really enjoyable or heroic characters, or spectacular action this film is not for you. If you are like me read no further until you have seen the film!
If you have a mixture of preferences in a movie then my views might help. The following proposed additions and deletions to the film are designed to add an extra dimension to the film evaluation, choice and experience. They may help you choose or avoid the film. First, for many of us, how much we care about the characters is a key to the film experience. These characters must have traits that do or be life affirming. The existence of those traits for all of the leading characters in this film is debatable. Fortunately, it is or was a solvable problem.
The lead protagonist is a writer/ghost writer who finally gets the gumption to strike out on his own. His growth could have been foreshadowed and enjoyed better by including a little more back story so we know what may have caused him to be dominated by the name writer for seven years. The heroine could have deliberately tried to help the hero much earlier in the story by reading some of the lines to his books to show how much she enjoyed them and by inference him. The villain could have been shown in a scene as why that character came to be a villain. In short, inclusion of back stories could have made us care about more about the characters.
Incidentally, the red herrings could have been handled better. The clutter of irrelevant dead ends could be cut or improved. For example, the â€œMagicianâ€ could have been interviewed by the hero and learned to like magic from him. That added scene could have developed the hero into a person who really found other people interesting not just source material and as part of his job. That would justify the very unlikely scenario of two non-connected magicians being in the same film.
The reviewers of this picture gave it between 2 and 4 stars out of a possible 4 stars with an average rating of about 3 stars. This rating is above average for all films. I gave it 3 Â½ stars (with the extra Â½ star because of my strong preference for plot over spectacle). With better back stories I would have given it 4 stars. From a base of 3 stars, if unsatisfactory character development or red herrings in the plot are not for you drop the anticipated rating Â½ stars for each issue. This film could easily be a 2 star or a 4 star film for you! Enjoy or avoid it based upon your preferences!