Three Colors: Red (Trois couleurs: Rouge)

1994

Three Colors: Red (Trois couleurs: Rouge)

Critics Consensus

A complex, stirring, and beautifully realized portrait of interconnected lives, Red is the captivating conclusion to a remarkable trilogy.

100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 54

95%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 35,568

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Three Colors: Red (Trois couleurs: Rouge) Photos

Movie Info

A beautiful model named Valentine crosses paths with a retired judge, whose dog she runs over with her car. The lonely judge, she discovers, amuses himself by eavesdropping on all of his neighbors' phone conversations. Near Valentine's apartment lives a young man who aspires to be a judge and loves a woman who will betray him. From these characters' proximity comes spiritual kinship and mutual redemption.

Cast

Irène Jacob
as Valentine Dussaut
Jean-Pierre Lorit
as Auguste Bruner
Samuel Le Bihan
as Le photographe (Photographer)
Marion Stalens
as Le Vétérinaire (Veterinary surgeon)
Teco Celio
as Le barman (Barman)
Bernard Escalon
as Le disquaire (Record dealer)
Jean Schlegel
as Le voisin (Neighbour)
Elzbieta Jasinska
as La femme (Woman)
Paul Vermeulen
as L'ami de Karin (Karen's friend)
Roland Carey
as Le trafiquant (Drug dealer)
Juliette Binoche
as Julie Vignon (de Courcy)
View All

News & Interviews for Three Colors: Red (Trois couleurs: Rouge)

Critic Reviews for Three Colors: Red (Trois couleurs: Rouge)

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (54)

  • Is it profound or is it facile? When a movie gives you goose bumps, it may not matter.

    February 21, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Newsweek
    Top Critic
  • For all its cleverness, remains in essence the story of a friendship which, across the generations, leaves both parties a little easier with themselves but still prey to fate.

    February 17, 2016 | Full Review…

    Derek Malcolm

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • The third and best feature of Krzysztof Kieslowski's highly ambitious Three Colors trilogy.

    August 8, 2012 | Full Review…
  • Another deft, deeply affecting variation on Krzysztof Kieslowski's recurring theme that people are interconnected in ways they can barely fathom.

    January 22, 2008

    Lisa Nesselson

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Stunningly beautiful, powerfully scored and immaculately performed, the film is virtually flawless, and one of the very greatest cinematic achievements of the last few decades. A masterpiece.

    February 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Red succeeds so stirringly that it also bestows some much-needed magic upon its predecessors.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 5/5

Audience Reviews for Three Colors: Red (Trois couleurs: Rouge)

  • Aug 16, 2014
    And so, we reach the highly, highly, highly awaited (Please, let this be over, so I can get some sleep) conclusion to Krzysztof Kieślowski's "American Flag" trilogy... right? You'll have to forgive my being an ignorant American and not noticing the distinctions between the color patterns of the French and American flags. Well, one has to at least give it to me that I recognize the distinctions in the two country's forms of patriotism, because where American patriotism leads to the booze, baseball and football, French patriotism leads to something that is somehow less interesting to me, a movie buff. Well, this installment is more grounded than ever, but the point is that Kieślowski has finally completed this rather tedious showcase of his French patriotism... as a Pole, and just in time, because not two years after this film came out, he went the way of the French Revolutionaries who died to uphold the ideals that Kieślowski evidently subscribed to. If you want to keep up this talk of patriotism and make more reference to what the colors on the French flag represent, I suppose you could say that Kieślowski was given liberty... then equality, and then death, although the red on the French flag doesn't represent death. That should probably be stressed, because this film is likely the closest that annoyingly pretentious film school snobs are going to get to fraternity in college. Actually, I don't know how pretentious this film is, because, like I said, it's the most grounded of the "Three Colors" trilogy, and is decent because of it, although it's not completely above misguidance. "Blue" was a prime example of what I like to refer to as "La Villa Strangiato", - in honor of the Rush instrumental which took the subtitle "An Exercise in Self-Indulgence" - in that it was one of art films which meditated upon just about nothing, and while "White" was a much a tighter and more grounded film, it was still misguided, and here, if there is overt lyricism to abstract storytelling, it's rare enough for you to not notice, which isn't to say that this film doesn't still have a tendency to drag its feet, with repetitious, if not aimless filler which squanders time that could have been dedicated more towards characterization. Immediate background development is lacking, and gradual exposition is adequate enough for you to get to know these characters just fine, but considering that this film is so much more grounded than its overtly naturalist predecessors, there's no excuse for its neglecting, if not the sudden abandonment of potentially intriguing conflicts and themes which stand away from the film's central focus, yet would add to the depth of a story that, quite frankly, needs more meat. Despite not quite having the scope of "White", this film's story concept certainly has a whole lot more depth to it than the overly intimate "Blue" and the lighthearted "White", but it's still a minimalist premise that establishes only so much bite and consequence, but plenty of conventions. Even though "Blue" and "White" had the audacity to be formulaic in its attempts at being artistically offbeat, one has to figure that this film, with its being more grounded than ever, is more formulaic than ever, and sure enough, the film is predictable, as surely as it is overlong, meandering along a familiar path at what at least feels like a glacial clip. I've rambled on and on about how this film is made much more interesting than its predecessors by its all but abandoning roots of abstract lyricism, but don't go in with the hopes that dryness is abandoned, because there's still something rather subdued about Krzysztof Kieślowski's direction, which relies on quietness, if not an ethereal atmosphere over all of meditations that, while not abstract, seriously bland things up, if not dull them down. I did find myself uncovering some not-so fond memories of boredom from the arguably tedious predecessors, and although I was generally engaged, potential, no matter limited, is lost in the wake of some misguided ambitions, if not laziness. The final product runs the risk of succumbing to the mediocrity its predecessors decidedly fell to, but it achieve decency, against all expectations, and gets there partly because it remains about as aesthetically solid as its predecessors. At the very least, this series has stood as a testament to the brilliant musical abilities of Zbigniew Preisner, whose score for "Blue" was masterful in its genuine classicalism, and whose much less sweeping score for "White" was still charming and lovely in its lightness, and although this film is still awfully quiet, it's as celebratory of Preisner's gifts as any installment, ranging from a haunting sobriety to a captivating grandness that is rare in modern classical music, let alone modern film scoring. The musical style is certainly there, and when it comes to the visual style, well, it's not too much more explored by this mostly quiet affair, arguably being the least handsome of the three films, but decidedly being handsome by its own right, regardless, with Piotr Sobociński delivering on cinematography that was, for 1994, crisp in its emphasis on spare lighting in order to tastefully compliment the heart of this human drama's tone, if not certain colors, such as - you guessed it - red. Even the visual style seems to be eager to explore the depths of this film in an artistically subtle manner, and one can understand the ambition, that is, to a certain extent, for although this story is too intimate to carry all that much dynamicity or consequence, it's still a tasteful portrait on humanity and love, and it is done justice by a script by Krzysztof Kieślowski and Piesiewicz which, for all its excesses and thinness, is more focused in its exploration of worthy themes and worthy characters. It still stands to be juicier, but the characterization of this film still manages to draw rich and relatable roles who go brought to life by a cast that has little material, but plenty of charisma, whether it be the lovely Irène Jacob, or the subtly piercing Jean-Louis Trintignant. Really, outside of the grand aesthetic aspects, where the flaws of this film stand firm, the strengths are rather subtle, but they are plentiful, and in order to save the film, if not deliver on some resonance, they need to be well-orchestrated by a director who has had a history for getting carried away with subtleties. Well, sure enough, Kieślowski, as director, cannot completely justify his thoughtful approach to everything, for material to draw upon is limited, and yet, whether it be because he's more realized in his thoughtfulness, or simply because he has more material to work with, Kieślowski proves effective more often than not, whether that be aesthetically speaking, or dramatically speaking, with heights in dramatic realization that range from tasteful to near-powerful. The film is still far from rewarding, and is not even what it could have been as a minimalist drama, but it has its moments, and enough of them to engage much more than either of its predecessors, and therefore stand as a decent, if still somewhat questionable art drama. In the end, the film drags its feet quite a bit to say only so much about its characters, and to have only so much meat to a story concept whose familiarity and blandly, if not dully subdued approach bring momentum to a crawl, but don't bring the final product to the mediocrity that claimed its predecessors, for there is enough magnificence to Zbigniew Preisner's score, handsomeness to Piotr Sobociński's cinematography, focus to Krzysztof Kieślowski's and Piesiewicz's script, grace to Irène Jacob's and Jean-Louis Trintignant's acting, and realized thoughtfulness to Kieślowski's direction to make "Three Colors: Red" an unsurprisingly improvable, yet surprisingly fair conclusion to Kieślowski's otherwise flat trilogy. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Jun 27, 2013
    Filmmaking has rarely been as electric and original as it is in "Three Colors: Red," which is obviously the work of an absolute auteur. Director Krzysztof Kieslowski has created one of the most sensational, most emotional, most beautiful films perhaps ever made. It is mysterious and puzzling, gripping and merciful, and contains one of those endings that's so powerful it will leave you deep in thought as the credits begin to roll.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Jun 19, 2013
    I agree with the critics that this is the best of Kieslowski's Three Colours trilogy. His exploration of interconnectedness probably inspired Crash and other pretenders but this is the real deal.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 23, 2012
    With its beautifully multi-layered drama and its great sense of closure, "Three Colors: Red" is quite easily the best film in Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Three Colors" trilogy. It stars the beautiful Irene Jacob as Valentine, an easy-going fashion model, and Jean-Louis Trintignant ("The Conformist") as an enigmatic retired judge who eavesdrops on his neighbors' private lives by way of wire-tapping their telephones and successively playing them in his speakers as if a series of radio shows. Although the relationship between Valentine and the judge is peppered with psychosexual tension, which my more cynical mind, to a certain extent, reminds me a lot of the relationship between Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter, the film, albeit the enveloping intrigue and mystery that surrounds the whole film's premise, is a hopeful exercise in love and human warmth. Out of the three films, I think that "Three Colors: Red" is the most immediately relatable but at the same time also the most cryptic (the questionable actions of the retired judge). We can relate with the adventurous Valentine because, unconsciously, we are also her because by any chance our car may ran over a dog and find out that the wounded animal has a name tag with an address in it, we will immediately return it to the owner, which in this case is the judge. This is how Valentine and the mysterious judge met, therefore forming a bond forged out of curiosity and developed out of the immediacy of human connection. For some filmmakers, with this kind of characters, a twenty-something girl and a sixty-something man, it's enough grounds to create a relatively pretentious romance. But Kieslowski, himself about to reach sixty years of existence himself (which he never did when he suddenly died in 1996) by the time this film, his last one, was released, knows better by instead playing this type of character relationship with dramatic assurance, wisdom and lots of heart. Of course, it's not without a hint of tragedy and a sense of isolation, which both "Three Colors: Blue" and "Three Colors: White" has finely established in different perspectives. But aside from this filmic relationship, Kieslowski also has something much trickier to pull off: how to coherently tie up the three films while also giving his current characters enough breathing space to wrap up their own situation. On one side, we have the budding emotional involvement between Valentine and the privacy-invading judge. On the other, there's also a young judge named Auguste (Jean-Pierre Lorit), whose life, in many ways, closely mirrors that of the judge's and who's currently involved in a run-of-the-mill romance with a personal weather reporter. At surface viewing, "Three Colors: Red" may look like your typical film by way of how it tackles love and existence at different viewpoints, sometimes in bliss, sometimes in pain. But Kieslowski has created his characters to fit an urgent inevitability to unconsciously interconnect. In this idea of intertwining of fates, Kieslowski has already gave us a tease by mistakenly letting Julie (from "Three Colors: Blue") enter the courtroom where the divorce trial between Karol and Dominique is taking place in the beginning of "Three Colors: White". There's also the hunched old lady (who appeared in all three films) immersed in a mundane difficulty: The camera and the characters always catch her laboriously trying to put an empty bottle inside a trash bin; a prominent figure in the whole trilogy that has been, in a way, the barometer of the protagonists' characters. (Julie merely looked at her in puzzled sadness while Karol minutely smirked at her predicament. Only Valentine has the basic courtesy to help her put the bottle in the bin). In this film, it has truly, as they say, come in full circle. But not in the way how a generic ensemble film may. Sure, the film may have discoursed about the general outlook of love by way of those two (bliss and pain) extremes, but the film is a minuscule observation of love and life at the same time as it is a far-reaching, 'what if' meditation on time . In the end, "Three Colors: Red" relies on the singular choices and plans of its characters instead of giving the responsibility to an invisibly omniscient hand to move the likes of Valentine and the judge as if indifferent chess pieces. And for that, the film was uniquely pragmatic. After 'liberty' and 'equality' were tackled through individualistic perspectives by way of Julie and Karol in the two previous films, "Three Colors: Red" was able to brilliantly put these stories, stories of people striving through all too human flaws, in a holistic harmony even in the midst of a tragedy. This may very well be the significance of 'fraternity' in the whole film, but "Three Colors: Red" is also quite aware of another infinitely more transcendent thing: destiny. Again, with its fascinating visionary depth and articulate human drama, "Three Colors: Red" is the best film in the trilogy, and is also a fitting swan song for Krzysztof Kieslowski, who sadly passed away far too soon.
    Ivan D Super Reviewer

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