Trans-Europ-Express Reviews

  • May 06, 2016

    This is an experimental film that may have pushed boundaries at the time but has lost all relevance to a contemporary audience. Slow and ponderous, with seemingly only two ideas to hang it's hat on, with no depth to the characters, there just isn't any reason to care about what happens.

    This is an experimental film that may have pushed boundaries at the time but has lost all relevance to a contemporary audience. Slow and ponderous, with seemingly only two ideas to hang it's hat on, with no depth to the characters, there just isn't any reason to care about what happens.

  • Feb 27, 2015

    Perverse, playful, and ultimately rather boring, Alain Robbe-Grillet's second film is less interesting than his first (L'Immortelle) or his script for Resnais's Last Year at Marienbad. Possibly this is because, its conceit - a writer, director, and script girl brainstorm a film while riding on the train, a film that we actually see - feels rather half-assed. Jean-Louis Trintignant gives a winking performance but Robbe-Grillet's efforts to confuse the audience seem to have confused him too. He is a drug courier between Paris and Antwerp - but who is he working for? More worrisome is the introduction of S&M content that, although seeming consensual, also feels misogynistic and accepting of violence toward women. I can't get down with that and it feels rather jarring when the rest of the film wants to be light-hearted. The end stare at a naked girl in chains on stage at a club is symptomatic of this problem - the film stops dead in its tracks and fortunately ends.

    Perverse, playful, and ultimately rather boring, Alain Robbe-Grillet's second film is less interesting than his first (L'Immortelle) or his script for Resnais's Last Year at Marienbad. Possibly this is because, its conceit - a writer, director, and script girl brainstorm a film while riding on the train, a film that we actually see - feels rather half-assed. Jean-Louis Trintignant gives a winking performance but Robbe-Grillet's efforts to confuse the audience seem to have confused him too. He is a drug courier between Paris and Antwerp - but who is he working for? More worrisome is the introduction of S&M content that, although seeming consensual, also feels misogynistic and accepting of violence toward women. I can't get down with that and it feels rather jarring when the rest of the film wants to be light-hearted. The end stare at a naked girl in chains on stage at a club is symptomatic of this problem - the film stops dead in its tracks and fortunately ends.

  • Greg S Super Reviewer
    Mar 27, 2014

    A screenwriter pitches a complicated story about a cocaine smuggling caper to a producer during a train ride, and the audience watches the results play out, revisions and all. Very dry, very French crime spoof with a hint of perversion (the film-inside-the-film protagonist is obsessed with bondage).

    A screenwriter pitches a complicated story about a cocaine smuggling caper to a producer during a train ride, and the audience watches the results play out, revisions and all. Very dry, very French crime spoof with a hint of perversion (the film-inside-the-film protagonist is obsessed with bondage).

  • Oct 21, 2010

    My first taste of Alain Robbe Grillet and I have to say that I definitely look forward to more. Not even sure what to classify it as: a thriller or film noir? There was something I really liked about this though, that it was paying homage (or maybe sarcastically) to a couple of the new wave films that I had seen before. The actress who plays the prostitute Eva is a stunning resemblance to Anna Karina from the hair to make up and even physique. Not sure if that was intentional or not.

    My first taste of Alain Robbe Grillet and I have to say that I definitely look forward to more. Not even sure what to classify it as: a thriller or film noir? There was something I really liked about this though, that it was paying homage (or maybe sarcastically) to a couple of the new wave films that I had seen before. The actress who plays the prostitute Eva is a stunning resemblance to Anna Karina from the hair to make up and even physique. Not sure if that was intentional or not.

  • Feb 27, 2009

    I dig this Robbe-Grillet film - a meditation on cinema and storytelling. A meta non-narrative. Kinky intellectual fun.

    I dig this Robbe-Grillet film - a meditation on cinema and storytelling. A meta non-narrative. Kinky intellectual fun.

  • Jan 27, 2009

    Robbe-Grillet has always been a unique storyteller...From the bizarre horror script he wrote for Renais' Last Year and Marienbad to L' Imortelle, he has always found new ways to to play with the structure of film narrative. "Trans-Europ Express" follows that innovative tradition in his narratives. Jean-Louis Trintignant plays both himself and his alter-ego smuggler in the film whose moment by moment actions are being written during filming by the director and screenwriters who are on the very same train he (Trintignant)is riding. The progression of the images and over-narration is also unique and highly entertaining. An amazing film experience.

    Robbe-Grillet has always been a unique storyteller...From the bizarre horror script he wrote for Renais' Last Year and Marienbad to L' Imortelle, he has always found new ways to to play with the structure of film narrative. "Trans-Europ Express" follows that innovative tradition in his narratives. Jean-Louis Trintignant plays both himself and his alter-ego smuggler in the film whose moment by moment actions are being written during filming by the director and screenwriters who are on the very same train he (Trintignant)is riding. The progression of the images and over-narration is also unique and highly entertaining. An amazing film experience.

  • Dec 04, 2008

    A deftly thought-out, deliciously twisted vivisection of narrative tropes, the creative process and what it means to watch a movie. Not really propelled by a story, nor containing characters per se (the capsule provided above is laughable, and the confusion of the contemporary tag lines is marvelous), but nonetheless funny, smart and, at times, beautiful.

    A deftly thought-out, deliciously twisted vivisection of narrative tropes, the creative process and what it means to watch a movie. Not really propelled by a story, nor containing characters per se (the capsule provided above is laughable, and the confusion of the contemporary tag lines is marvelous), but nonetheless funny, smart and, at times, beautiful.

  • Oct 03, 2008

    the writers on the train thing was pretty obvioius and borderline stupid, but the rest was pretty good or better, and it's nice to see it in a pristine print

    the writers on the train thing was pretty obvioius and borderline stupid, but the rest was pretty good or better, and it's nice to see it in a pristine print

  • Sep 21, 2008

    It is by no means perverse to say that Robbe-Grillet made a new wave film more enjoyable than anything Godard and Truffaut made in the 60s. What makes Trans-Europ-Express stand out is its rigorously controlled but relentlessly refreshing mise-en-scene. Nothing feels accidental here. All music comes and goes at appropriate moments. There's not a single scene that isolates itself as the filmmaker's "idea of the day" that brings more coolness than relevance. This is not to say that I dislike improvisations; it's just really satisfying to see a new wave story brought to life with steady architecture. Trans-Europ-Express also predates John Boorman's Point Blank in the use of editing that defies time and space in a genre movie. The technique would be later glorified to its full intensity by Steven Soderbergh.

    It is by no means perverse to say that Robbe-Grillet made a new wave film more enjoyable than anything Godard and Truffaut made in the 60s. What makes Trans-Europ-Express stand out is its rigorously controlled but relentlessly refreshing mise-en-scene. Nothing feels accidental here. All music comes and goes at appropriate moments. There's not a single scene that isolates itself as the filmmaker's "idea of the day" that brings more coolness than relevance. This is not to say that I dislike improvisations; it's just really satisfying to see a new wave story brought to life with steady architecture. Trans-Europ-Express also predates John Boorman's Point Blank in the use of editing that defies time and space in a genre movie. The technique would be later glorified to its full intensity by Steven Soderbergh.

  • Jul 12, 2008

    as interesting a meditation on narration as marienbad, arguably less in depth, but a hell of a lot more fun. sort of the no-wave of the new-wave.

    as interesting a meditation on narration as marienbad, arguably less in depth, but a hell of a lot more fun. sort of the no-wave of the new-wave.