Wednesday, August 25, 2021

#2,605. Subway (1985)


Luc Besson’s Subway gets off to a rollicking start; a thief dressed in a tux is driving down the highway, chased by another car (carrying four guys, also wearing tuxedos). It’s a thrilling sequence, the kind you would expect from the filmmaker who’d eventually give us La Femme Nikita and The Fifth Element.

But Subway is not an action flick; it’s a comedy / romance set in the bowels of the Paris Metro, and while most of what follows isn’t nearly as exciting as the opening, it’s still a good deal of fun.

The well-dressed thief on the run is Fred (Christopher Lambert), who has just robbed a house belonging to Helena (Isabelle Adjani), the wealthy wife of a powerful man. Among his ill-gotten gains is an important file, which Fred agrees to return to Helena in exchange for a healthy ransom.

See, Fred is basically a vagrant, who lives in the tunnels and corridors of the Metro alongside his friends and occasional accomplices The Roller (Jean-Hughes Anglade) and The Drummer (Jean Reno). But Fred quickly realizes Helene is more to him than an easy mark; he finds that he’s actually in love with her, and Helene, bored with her life of privilege, might be falling for Fred, too!

While the remainder of Subway may lack the excitement of its opening sequence, it is nonetheless a stylish, high-energy film from start to finish, and we spend enough time with Fred and his buddies to realize they’re life’s lovable losers, just hoping to get lucky. Which, it seems, is exactly what happens to Fred when he “meets” Helene; he can’t stop thinking about her, at one point calling her at two o’clock in the morning to hear her voice.

Lambert, Adjani, and the rest of the cast are strong (including Michael Galibrau, who is quite funny as the hard-nosed Chief of the Subway’s security force), and while the story takes a few sharp turns along the way (there’s a subplot about Fred putting together a band), Subway is always entertaining.
Rating: 9 out of 10

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