On the Run (France/Belgium; 117 min.)

directed by: Lucas Belvaux
starring: Lucas Belvaux; Catherine Frot; Dominique Blanc
Johanna says: "I liked ON THE RUN. I wondered about Bruno's rage, even after all those years in prison. Could he really just pick up where he left off? I liked the way, as I told Michael before, even with all his fury - he just faded away at the end, so quietly. Jeanne was so maleable - it seemed like the life she had established during all those years just faded away when Bruno insisted. Was that believable? I'm not sure. I have
to wait for the last one to see how it all comes together."

Michael says: "Here's a cinematic event that all Chlotrudis members should definitely try to see. Opening next Friday at the Brattle, French director Lucas Belvaux' trillogy of films, ON THE RUN, AN AMAZING COUPLE, and AFTER THE LIFE. In a unique and extremely succesful creation, Balvaux spins three separate films, each in its own genre, about the same characters during the same span of time. While each film is wonderfully realized on its own, so much more is attained by viewing all three. This is going to be a tricky one come nomination time!

"ON THE RUN is Belvaux's thriller, and it opens first. Bruno has been in prison for nearly 15 years, and after a daring jailbreak, he returns to Grenoble. Imprisoned for his time involved with a radical revolutionary group, is he seeking revenge on the man who betrayed them? Or is he hoping to pick up where his group of revolutionaries left off when they were captured. Along the way, we meet one of his former allies, Jeanne, now a mother and schoolteacher, who reluctantly becomes involved in his plans. There is also Pascal, the police officer who is trying to hunt Bruno down. In a complication, Bruno also becomes involved with Pascal's wife Agnès, who is a morphine junkie.

"Director Belvaux also plays lead character Bruno, with a mix of cool ruthlessness and political passion. Bruno is deadly serious about his cause, and woe to those who stand in his way, yet he shows a remarkable empathy toward Agnès and her difficulties with her addiction.

"Belvaux uses sound marvelously well, in fact, the entire opening sequence is done without images, only sound. He ratchets up the tension, and sets the film off at a rapid pace as the plot unfolds and the body count mounts. Ending on a surprisingly existential note, you couldn't possibly be prepared for the stories that will soon unfold simultaneously in the other two films." 3 1/2 cats

Bruce says: "ON THE RUN is dead serious, a film as far from AN AMAZING COUPLE as one could get. It takes but a few minutes into the film to understand what Belvaux has accomplished with his style switching. Bruno (Lucas Belvaux) escapes from prison with help from a friend on the outside. Pascal is assigned to track him down. This is happening at the same time that Cécile is preparing for her party and Alain is despairing over his impending demise.

"Within twenty-four hours of the party Bruno has contacted Jeanne, his former revolutionary comrade, and has encountered and rescued Agnès as she attempts to meet a man with whom she has a business relationship; finally he goes with Agnès to Cécile’s chateau in the nearby countryside where she hides him from the police.

"In AN AMAZING COUPLE, on the day after the ill-timed surprise birthday party, we saw Agnès asking Cécile to borrow her car and use the chateau. Smarting from the sting of her own husband’s infidelity, Cécile has assumed that Agnès is having an affair and begrudgingly facilitates her friend’s rendezvous. We see the parts of the same scene from a slightly different perspective, with considerably more information than we had in the first film where Cécile screams at Agnès 'Why can’t you go to a hotel like a normal person.' Belvaux toys with his audience while providing the viewer with an incredible amount of material to rehash. Few directors engage the audience in ways that come close to what Belvaux does here. Rarely is filmgoing so demanding.

"All the while Bruno is hiding out and planning his escape across the French Alps into Italy, Pascal is seeming closing in on him. Pascal is also drawing conclusions regarding Alain’s comings and goings, conclusions which confuse Cécile.

"ON THE RUN sticks with its implied theme and we finally learn Bruno’s fate before we know or understand what is happening with the other characters. ON THE RUN is considerably darker and more foreboding than the other two films. Trying as hard as I can, I cannot envision this film as the first in the trilogy. 4 cats"