One of the first new solid arthouse entries of the new year comes from the estimable Andre Techine (The Witnesses).
The Girl on the Train (in French and Hebrew with English subtitles) stars Emilie Dequenne, Catherine Deneuve and Michel Blanc and comes from the implications of a hotbed story in France in 2004.
This insinuating, visually spright drama centers on Dequenne's luminously deceptive Jeanne who claims she was the target of an anti-Semitic attack and the media blitz resulting from it.
Techine carefully works within the construct with which he collaborated on as the tale is split into "Circumstances" and "Consequences."
The first part sets into motion the carefree rollerblading Jeanne as she attempts to solidify her professional and personal life from her humdrum existence in a Parisian suburb with widowed mom and childminder (Deneuve). After she hooks up with a tatooed Franck (Nicolas Duvauchelle) driven to be a wrestler life turns rather ominous after they set up shop in a warehouse. This is after her mother helps her in her plans of an administration assistant through an old paramour, accomplished lawyer Samuel Bleistein (Blanc).
With an apolitical Jeanne in her quiet provincial halcyon transposed against Bleistein with his diverse clan in a more heated, active existence, the sight of crisscrossing trains from the initial elevated one is heedful to the controversy from innocence and earnestness of a comely Gentile who has to reconcile with the new role she's taken on.
Belgian actress Dequenne (rather riveting in Brotherhood of the Wolf and especially Rosetta) is often genuinely surprising in a challenging role, generating an unconscionable charisma for the mistaken that works uniquely off what is surely a polarizing prevarication from the gleaning of the spoken word and television clips. Denueve and Blanc offer effective support on the varying sides of cultivation while Jeremy Quaegedebeur is a key contributor as a younger member of a clan who befriends Jeanne.
Part of the lattergoing is set in Bleistein's swank serene lakeside abode as all of the contradictory elements are cannily if smartly filtered to much thoughtful effect. Yet, if the "consequences" don't lead to the desired emotional payoff, eclipsed somewhat by the projection of an unsubstantiated attack by black and Arab teens there still is an intense intimacy from the very nature of what is multi-stranded and motivated.
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