The first few seconds of ‘Feux Rouges’ show Antoine – a mid-age Parisian insurance agent – writing a loving mail to his wife on the verge of a family vacation. The last few seconds of the movie show the couple exchanging loving smiles while driving to the South where they would pick the children from a camp to continue together the vacation. Everything goes wrong in the in-between.

‘Feux Rouges’ starts as a relationship drama ad turns into a thriller and a wrong-turn movie. It is inspired by a novel of the Georges Simenon, and as many of Simenon’s novels the characters are far from being great communicators. The lack of communication, the routine and maybe the differences in social positions make of Antoine an unhappy husband who is ready to spoil the start of the vacations by heavy drinking while on road. Much of the movie happens on the road, and the gradual tension building picking with the disappearance of the wife Helen strikes a cord of uneasiness and even claustrophobia – great achievement for a film filmed on highways and roads with the sky almost permanently on view. As in many of Simenon’s novels there is a moralistic twist, and justice is made even if it is completely the result of hazard and not of the will of men. And there is a huge price to pay for this justice, which we only can guess as it happens out of the screen and story time.

(video by Celluloiddreams)

Director Cedric Kahn has learned a few lessons in thrillers from the great masters, and fist of all from Hitchcock. Antoine is wonderfully played by Jean-Pierre Darroussin as the type of character that we know from the very first moment that he will get into trouble and he indeed does all to confirm this, but it is the character of Helene played by Carole Bouquet that he relates to all the time and which is his focal point of frustration, worry and love.The simplicity of the story telling, the careful gradation of tension towards horror, the low key ending which does not solve the conflict, but just postpones it beyond the duration of the film make of this film a worth watching piece of cinema.

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