The radio tells us that a paedophile serial-killer has escaped from prison and is on the run. A ghostwriter is covertly doing research for an acclaimed murder-mystery writer. A woman tells the police that her husband has disappeared. So when a young woman is abandoned by her boyfriend at a service station we can’t help but wonder who is the mysterious man who insists on offering her a lift. Is he the missing husband, ghostwriter or serial killer? The tense mystery behind the identity of this man, who is played wonderfully by Dominique Pinon (Amelie, Delicatessen), is just the first act of this intriguing French drama/thriller.
Director Claude Lelouch, who is still best know for his 1966 art-house hit Un homme et une femme, is ultimately a romantic at heart and the elaborate criss-crossing storylines within Roman de gare eventually converge into a sweet story about finding love through bizarre twists of fate. Until then the audience are treated to a wonderful series of events that play with the cinematic conventions of perception, expectation and storytelling. Roman de gare is an engaging and fun series of surprises and revelations.
Originally appeared in The Big Issue, No. 325, 2009