Roman de Gare

Rated 4.0

Director Claude Lelouch’s new movie takes its name from a certain brand of best seller commonly available in French train stations (and American airports): the crafty, diverting, reliably fun read. Such a book needn’t endure as literature; it just has to be pleasurably plotty. Adapted by Lelouch and Pierre Uytterhoeven from Philippe Grimbert’s novel of the same name, Roman de Gare involves a best-selling author of murder mysteries, a missing husband, an escaped killer, a ghostwriter, a jilted young woman of obscure vocation and much deliberate confusion about whether the events they have in common are flashbacks, individual characters’ suspicions of certain wrongdoings or scenes from the next of those best sellers. Through manipulation and misdirection, Lelouch messes with our expectations and makes us thank him for it. The ever-appealing Fanny Ardant and the enigmatic, pug-faced character actor Dominique Pinon have many subtle delights up their sleeves, and newcomer Audrey Dana is a revelation.