Subway Luc Besson Critique Essay

* This filmography is not intended to be a comprehensive list of this artist’s work. Instead it reflects the films this person has been involved with that have been reviewed on this site.

The Journey of a Remarkable Artist: The Career of Gary Oldman

by Max O'Connell  |    | 

A history of Gary Oldman's performances.

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Home Entertainment Consumer Guide: November 30, 2017

by Brian Tallerico  |    | 

The latest on Blu-ray and streaming services, including Logan Lucky, The Villainess, Jabberwocky, and more!

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2017 Summer Movie Preview: 25 Films We're Excited About

by Nick Allen  |    | 

25 films we can't wait to check out during the summer movie season.

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Bright Wall/Dark Room June 2016: "Prince's Natural Voice" by Karina Wolf

by The Editors  |    | 

An excerpt from the June 2016 issue of Bright Wall/Dark Room about Prince and "Purple Rain."

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TIFF 2015 Interview: Martin Zandvliet on "Land of Mine"

by Susan Wloszczyna  |    | 

An interview with Martin Zandvliet, writer/director of "Land of Mine."

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Who's Who In Reviews: Peter Sobczynski

by Chaz Ebert  |    | 

The movie questionnaire and 2015 reviews of RogerEbert.com film critic Peter Sobczynski.

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Home Entertainment Consumer Guide: January 21, 2014

by Brian Tallerico  |    | 

A feature on the latest major Blu-ray, Netflix, and On Demand releases, including "Gone Girl," "The Boxtrolls," "The Zero Theorem," "Coherence," and more.

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Reverse Trip: Charting the History of Bong Joon-Ho's "Snowpiercer"

by Scout Tafoya  |    | 

A look at the cinematic and political history that resulted in Bong Joon-Ho's "Snowpiercer."

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Meet the Writers: Peter Sobczynski

by The Editors  |    | 

Writer Peter Sobczynski responds to our Movie Love Questionnaire.

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#177 July 24, 2013

by Marie Haws  |    | 

Marie writes: Ever intrepid, club member Sandy Kahn has submitted an intriguing quartet of finds involving a series of Hollywood auctions set to begin at the end of July 2013. Sandy has shared similar things in the past and as before, club members are invited to freely explore the wide variety of collectibles & memorabilia being auctioned LIVE by "Profiles in History". Note: founded in 1985 by Joseph Maddalena, Profiles in History is the nation’s leading dealer in guaranteed-authentic original historical autographs, letters, documents, vintage signed photographs and manuscripts.

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#170 June 5, 2013

by Marie Haws  |    | 

Marie writes: Behold a truly rare sight. London in 1924 in color. "The Open Road" was shot by an early British pioneer of film named Claude Friese-Greene and who made a series of travelogues using the colour process his father William (a noted cinematographer) had been experimenting with. The travelogues were taken between 1924 and 1926 on a motor journey between Land's End and John O'Groats. You can find more footage from The Open Road at The British Film Institute's YouTube channel for the film. You can also explore their Archives collection over here.

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#96 January 4, 2012

by Marie Haws  |    | 

Marie Haws: Remember the Old Vic Tunnels?  I did some more sniffing around and you'll never guess where it led me. That's right - into the sewer system!  But not just any old sewer, oh no... it's the home of a famous forgotten river flowing beneath Fleet Street; the former home of English journalism.So grab a flashlight and some rubber boots as we go underground to explore "mile after mile of ornate brickwork" and a labyrinthine of tunnels which reveal the beauty of London's hidden River Fleet. (click images to enlarge.)

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#79 September 7, 2011

by Marie Haws  |    | 

Marie writes: I've always found the ocean more interesting than space and for invariably containing more delights and surprises. Case in point, discovering the existence of an extraordinary underwater museum...

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#74 August 3, 2011

by Marie Haws  |    | 

Marie writes: I love illustrators best in all the world. There's something so alive about the scratch and flow of pen & ink, the original medium of cheeky and subversive wit. And so when club member Sandy Kahn submitted links for famed British illustrator Ronald Searle and in the hopes others might find him interesting too, needless to say, I was quick to pounce; for before Ralph Steadman there was Ronald Searle... "The two people who have probably had the greatest influence onmy life are Lewis Carroll and Ronald Searle."-- John LennonVisit Kingly Books' Ronald Searle Gallery to view a sordid collection of wicked covers and view sample pages therein. (click to enlarge image.) And for yet more covers, visit Ronald Searle: From Prisoner of War to Prolific Illustrator at Abe Books.

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#62 May 11, 2011

by Marie Haws  |    | 

Marie writes: allow me to introduce you to Travel Photographer, founded by Chris and Karen Coe in 2003 and their annual contest "Travel Photographer of the Year".After years spent working in the travel industry as a professional photographer and finding it was mostly conventional images making it into print, Chris decided to create a way to showcase great travel photography and broaden people's perception of what it can encompass - namely, that it can be much, much more than a pretty postcard image.The contest is open to one and all; amateur and professional photographers compete alongside each other. Entrants are judged solely on the quality of their photographs. There's a special competition to encourage young photographers aged 18 and under; Young Travel Photographer of the Year. The youngest entrant to date was aged just five, the oldest 88. The competition is judged by a panel of photographic experts, including renowned photographers, picture buyers, editor and technical experts.And the 2010 winners have now been announced. Here's a few random photos to wet your appetite - then you can scroll through the amazing winners gallery!

Enal is around 6 years old and knows this shark well - it lives in a penned off area of ocean beneath his stilted house in Wangi, Indonesia. Photo: James Morgan, UK (Portfolio Encounters: Winner 2010)  [note: click images to enlarge]

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#59 April 20, 2011

by Marie Haws  |    | 

Marie writes: Ever since he was a boy, photographer John Hallmén has been fascinated by insects. And he's become well-known for photographing the creatures he finds in the Nackareservatet nature reserve not far from his home in Stockholm, Sweden. Hallmén uses various methods to capture his subjects and the results are remarkable. Bugs can be creepy, to be sure, but they can also be astonishingly beautiful...

Blue Damsel Fly [click to enlarge photos]

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Robbers and strippers, battles and burlesque

by Barbara Scharres  |    | 

The volcano gods were in a snit on Monday, and I arrived in Cannes on Tuesday six hours later than planned, following some frustrating encounters with ticket agents in Frankfurt Airport. Chicago Tribune critic Michael Phillips was on my flight from Chicago, having had his entire original reservation canceled due to drifting volcano ash. I heard delay stories everywhere, and figured I got off easy.

After fast dash to the Palais des Festivals five minutes before the office that issues accreditation badges closed, I picked up my press badge and film market badge. The Cannes skies were dark and threatening, with fog hanging over the distant mountains. I hoped that this wasn't a sign of weather gloom to come.

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In movies begin responsibilities

by Jim Emerson  |    | 

I saw six movies this past weekend and it was exhilarating. That's a lot for me to suck up these days (though it didn't used to be), unless I'm neck-deep in a film festival. I used to think nothing of a double-bill a day, but this was such a rich and rewarding movie-weekend that it reminded me of the great intensified cinematic forages of my 20s and 30s, when I seemed to encounter, and ravenously gobble down, fresh new masterpieces (heralded or unheralded) for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It also got me thinking about how unimaginably different the experience of finding movies to watch is now from what it was then.

Here's the breakdown: None of the movies I saw were available in my local theaters. I saw all of them at home, on the same 55" screen -- three on Comcast On Demand (two of those in HD widescreen, one in SD widescreen) and three on DVDs (all at 1.33:1) from my own library (in other words, not rentals, Netflix or otherwise). The movies themselves were made between 1947 and 2009, three were originally shot on 35mm film, one on Super 16mm, and the other on HD video. Four of them were in color, two in black and white. Three were serial-killer/corrupt cop thrillers, two comedy-dramas, and one an adaptation of a serious play about religion. None of them was American-made, but three were in English (though sometimes it was hard to tell), two in Japanese and one in Danish. Two were sanctified classics, one a lesser effort by one of cinema's greatest directors, and the other three recent works by established but not particularly well-known British filmmakers. All but one were new to me -- and that one I hadn't seen I booked it in 16mm, as a Seattle premiere, in a university film series 30 years ago.

OK, here's what I saw, in order:

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Do the Contrarian! It's the White List (again)

by Jim Emerson  |    | 

I was going to ignore it, I really was. But several people have e-mailed me about the appearance of Armond White's "Better-Than List 2008," and requested an opportunity to discuss it here. Well, OK.

White insists once again that what "it all comes down to" is a contest between "movies you must experience versus movies that threaten to diminish you":

Most of these high-profile films insult one's intelligence, while the year's best movies vanish from the marketplace for lack of critical support. This tragedy is exemplified by the scary acclaim for the year's worst: The atrocious "Slumdog Millionaire" and Pixar's hideous "Wall-E," the buzz-kill movie of all time. Trust no critic who endorses them.

So, it's not really Batman vs. the Joker. It's "Transporter 3" BETTER THAN "The Dark Knight": "Olivier Megaton, Jason Statham and Luc Besson reinvent the action movie as kinetic art, but impressionable teenagers mistook Chris Nolan's nihilistic graphic novel for kool fun."

I can't tell from that sentence (which constitutes the entirety of White's blurb-ument in this case) what the first part has to do with the second part, but it illustrates once again the meaninglessness of plugging movies into equations and pretending it's criticism.

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Opening film hardly a night to remember

by Roger Ebert  |    | 

CANNES, France -- I am sure that the opening of this year's Cannes Film Festival will be a night to remember, but I will not remember it, because I will be elsewhere. I will not attend the inaugural screening of Roland Joffe's "Vatel," even though it does star Gerard Depardieu and Uma Thurman, and even though I am invited to the party afterward.

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Movie Answer Man (11/02/1997)

by Roger Ebert  |    | 

Q. As part of my efforts as a morning show host out here, I stumbled across this from the ABC newsroom. It's the translation of American films in Hong Kong. Some actual English subtitles:

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Subway is a 1985 French comedy drama film directed by Luc Besson and starring Isabelle Adjani and Christopher Lambert. The film is classified as part of the cinema du look movement.

Plot[edit]

Having stolen some compromising documents from a powerful and successful entrepreneur/gangster at a party, a man known as Fred (Lambert) escapes from the police and takes refuge in the underground world of the Paris Métro stations and tunnels. There he joins the dwellers and befriends several colourful characters, including others who are living under the subway to avoid police arrest. While the gangster's henchmen try to find Fred, he develops a romance with the gangster's young trophy wife Héléna (Adjani). She had originally invited Fred to the party featured at the opening of the film, and is bored with her gilded-caged life.

Fred forms a pop band with some of his friends, such as "The Drummer" (Reno) and Enrico (Serra), who compose the songs. While Fred is working on this project, Héléna's powerful husband pressures the police to find the fugitive. One of Fred's sidekicks, The Rollerskater, who has been wanted by the police for a long time, is captured by Commissioner Gesberg (Galabru). Fred and his friend The Florist rob a train carrying money; The Florist escapes, leaving Fred with the loot.

Fred uses money from the robbery to pay off a band scheduled to perform in the subway station. His new band replaces them but, at their performance, Fred is searched for by both the police and a henchman of Héléna's husband. The henchman shoots Fred just as Héléna was about to reach and warn him of danger. The film ends with Héléna kneeling beside Fred, who is lying on his back, looking content and singing along with the band. They are playing and being applauded by the audience in the background.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Subway was filmed partially on location in the Paris Métro and Paris RER, and partially on sets that were designed by Alexandre Trauner.[4] The opening car chase scene is said to pay homage to the 1971 film The French Connection, and the film's ending is based loosely on the ending of the 1960 film Breathless.

Soundtrack[edit]

Éric Serra's score and other musical pieces from the soundtrack, such as Fred's band's song, "It's Only Mystery" (also written by Serra), were released on vinyl and cassette in 1985. The soundtrack sold over 100,000 copies in France. The soundtrack was released on CD in 1996.[7]

Reception[edit]

Subway was the third-most popular French film in France in 1986, after Trois Hommes et un Couffin and Les Specialistes. It attracted 2,920,588 cinemagoers.[8][1] The film grossed $390,659 at the box office in the United States.[9][1]

The film holds an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on seven reviews.[10]Janet Maslin of The New York Times praised the film's "highly energetic visual style" and "the sheer fun of staging domestic scenes, musical interludes and roller-skate chases in the underground" but added that "[the] characters and situations [are] so thin that they might as well be afterthoughts".[11]

Accolades[edit]

Subway was nominated for the Foreign Language Film award at the 40th British Academy Film Awards.[12] The film was nominated for 13 César Awards in 1986, winning 3: Best Actor (Christopher Lambert), Best Production Design (Alexander Trauner) and Best Sound.[13]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD in the USA in November 2001. The DVD presents the film in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and contains both an English-dubbed version as well as the original French version with English subtitles. Aaron Beierle of DVD Talk gave the DVD 3 out of 5 stars for video quality, and 2½ stars for audio quality.[14] Jason Bovberg of DVD Talk gave the film 3 stars for both video and audio quality. Both reviewers gave the film only a ½ star for its extra features, noting only cast and crew biographies plus trailers for three of Besson's other films were included on the disc.[15] As well as having no special features, standard versions of the DVD only contain the English-dubbed version; this has significant dialogue differences from the French original, though both Lambert and Adjani performed their own English.

Both the UK[16] and French versions[17] of the Blu-ray were released in September 2009. Both only contained the film in its original French audio, though with optional English subtitles. Blu-ray.com awarded both 3½ out of 5 stars for both audio and video quality.

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

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