The Man on the Train | On Demand review
Donald Sutherland and Larry Mullen Jr. shine in a harmless remake of the 2002 French film.
A superfluous but harmless remake of Patrice Leconte’s exquisite 2002 import of the same title, Mary McGuckian’s transliteration casts Donald Sutherland and Larry Mullen Jr. in the roles originally played by Jean Rochefort and Johnny Hallyday. Although he’s acted in dozens of films, Hallyday is primarily known as the French Elvis, which makes the substitution of U2’s drummer less odd than it might seem. The novice actor’s nameless character is the taciturn type and not given to outward displays of emotion, which dovetails nicely with Mullen’s inexperience and constricted range.
The man hops off a train in a small town intending to rob its only bank, but a chance meeting leads to his bedding down in the rococo mansion of Sutherland’s retired English prof, who’s never met a sentence he couldn’t embellish. While the thief waits for his ideal moment, their stilted conversations grow longer and more involved, leading almost imperceptibly to shared ground and mutual respect. It’s a familiar template, and the remake doesn’t share the original’s feeling of watching old pros pull off a well-worn routine with uncommon grace. But it’s a joy to see Sutherland get a rare chance to spread his wings. (Available on VOD through Dec 26; see tribecafilm.com for details.)