Review: ‘Taxi de Nuit’

Also with: Jacqueline Guenin, Bernard Verley, Marianne Groves, Aurore Clement.

Also with: Jacqueline Guenin, Bernard Verley, Marianne Groves, Aurore Clement.

“Taxi de Nuit” is a pleasantly diverting thriller set in Paris in late 1999, by which time the City of Light has evolved into an AIDS- and unemployment-weary police state. Tube programmers should flag this taxi down.

Setting the modest but effective tale in the near future presents ample opportunities for well-incorporated, often wry social commentary about everything from the decline of smoking to the state-enforced triumph of family values. Mothers wishing to divorce are forcibly returned to their spouses, gainful employment is mandatory, political activism is outlawed. Society runs smoothly at the expense of personal freedoms.

Story is set during one long October night. Plucky young blonde Laure Marsac breaks up with an unseen b.f. and hails a cab driven by 20-year vet Bruno Cremer. However, having left in a huff without her wallet, Marsac lacks the cash to pay her fare, plus the all-important “code card” for transactions and identity checks.

Cremer gets Marsac a room in a hotel where his black African buddy Maka Kotto is the night clerk. Pic soon demonstrates that, if Gallic standbys tobacco and alcohol have been curbed, racism and anti-semitism haven’t. Didier Bezace, an underground communist the duo met earlier, shows up uninvited, drawing police.

Arrested on a trumped-up morals charge, protagonists are hauled off to the hoosegow and given blood tests. Pic implies the cops are not above planting HIV-positive status on a suspect. Suspenseful visit to the police precinct, and a more disturbing sojourn at the Big Brother-ish Ministry of Security, give the central quartet a chance to show solidarity and buck the system.

The film sustains a sinister tone, which the music reinforces, by adjusting key aspects of behavior without altering the physical appearance of the city. Formal modes of address (“monsieur,””madame”) are still entrenched, but a sense of malevolence reigns.

With her waiflike beauty, Marsac contrasts nicely with the grizzled Cremer. Other characters are close to stereotypes but keep things moving at a watchable clip. Lensing dishes up plenty of otherworldly blue-and-yellow-hued night atmosphere.

Taxi de Nuit

(FRENCH)

Production

An Oliane Prods. release of an Oliane Prods./TF1 Films production, with participation of Canal Plus. (International sales: Claude Nouchi, WMF, Paris.) Produced by Marie Laure Reyre. Directed, written by Serge Leroy.

Crew

Camera (color), Andre Domage; editor, Francois Ceppi; music, Philippe Sarde; production design, Jean-Pierre Bazerolle; costume design, Monique Giarard; sound, Claude Bertrand. Reviewed at Images d'Ailleurs Cinema, Paris, Dec. 27, 1993. Running time:85 MIN.

With

Taxi Driver ... Bruno Cremer Carole ... Laure Marsac Dubrovsky ... Didier Bezace Jim "The Black"... Maka Kotto
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading