×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Subway

Subway brings to mind Orson Welles' quip about the cinema being the greatest electric train set a boy could have. Its director, Luc Besson, only 26, showed resourcefulness and a sense of filmmaking fun with his 1982 low-budget sci-fier Le Dernier Combat. For his second feature, Gaumont (distrib of Combat) gave him over 15 million francs, Christopher Lambert and Isabelle Adjani as stars, and let him go play in the Paris Metro.

With:
Isabelle Adjani Christophe Lambert Richard Bohringer Michel Galabru Jean-Hugues Anglade Jean Bouise

Subway brings to mind Orson Welles’ quip about the cinema being the greatest electric train set a boy could have. Its director, Luc Besson, only 26, showed resourcefulness and a sense of filmmaking fun with his 1982 low-budget sci-fier Le Dernier Combat. For his second feature, Gaumont (distrib of Combat) gave him over 15 million francs, Christopher Lambert and Isabelle Adjani as stars, and let him go play in the Paris Metro.

Result may disappoint some for its singular lack of ambition or purpose and its ragged narrative, but still proves a charmingly cartoonish escapade, strong on humor and rock rhythms.

Pic’s hero is Lambert, a dynamite-toting, punk-coiffed eccentric who has stolen some compromising documents belonging to Adjani’s influential husband. Lambert takes refuge in the subway at the moment of its early morning closing.

There he befriends some of the subterranean denizens – a young roller-skating purse-snatcher (Jean-Hugues Anglade), a shady flower-seller (Richard Bohringer) and a black muscleman who works out with spare subway car parts – and decides to realize his dream of managing a rock band, by recruiting the Metro’s itinerant musicians. In the meantime he is sought by the thugs, the Paris transport police (headed by Michel Galabru), and Adjani.

Film went through heavy cutting in final editing stages, with 40 minutes shorn away to get it down to average commercial length, which explains the lapses in plot and sometimes disjointed continuity. But the roughness feels right in a film that resolutely refuses to take itself seriously.

Popular on Variety

Subway

France

Production: Gaumont/Films du Loup/TSF/TF. Director Luc Besson; Producer Luc Besson, Francois Ruggieri; Screenplay Luc Besson, Pierre Jolivet, Alain Le Henry, Sophie Schmit, Marc Perrier; Camera Carlo Varini; Editor Sophie Schmit; Music Eric Serra; Art Director Alexandre Trauner

Crew: (Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1985. Running time: 104 MIN.

With: Isabelle Adjani Christophe Lambert Richard Bohringer Michel Galabru Jean-Hugues Anglade Jean Bouise

More Film

  • Ad Astra

    How 'Ad Astra' Production Crew Created Authentic Look for Brad Pitt Space Drama

    In “Ad Astra,” Brad Pitt’s astronaut Roy McBride crosses the solar system to find and confront his long-lost father, requiring the movie crew to create an authentic-looking future that conveys the theme of traveling long distances to learn the lesson that it’s where you started from that has the most value. “Visually, the aim was [...]

  • Nahnatchka Khan'Always Be My Maybe' film

    'Fresh Off the Boat' Creator Nahnatchka Khan Signs First-Look Deal With Netflix

    Netflix has signed “Fresh Off the Boat” creator and executive producer Nahnatchka Khan to an exclusive multi-year first look deal for feature films. Khan made her feature film directorial debut with “Always Be My Maybe” starring Ali Wong and Randall Park. The romantic comedy premiered on Netflix in May and was seen by 32 million [...]

  • The Mover

    Latvia, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro, Costa Rica Announce Oscar Contenders

    Latvia, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro and Costa Rica are the latest countries to announce their entries for the newly rebranded International Feature Film award at the 92nd Academy Awards. All four countries are seeking their first Oscar nomination in what was formerly known as the foreign-language film category. Latvia has selected Holocaust drama “The Mover” (pictured) as [...]

  • The Sky Is Pink

    Toronto Film Review: 'The Sky is Pink'

    Shonali Bose’s much-laureled 2014 “Margarita with a Straw” was a film whose presentation of a cerebral palsy-afflicted heroine sidestepped all the usual hand-wringing inspirational clichés of disability portrayal, making her story all the more enlightening and affecting. It is particularly disappointing, then, that the director’s followup should approach another tale of genetic infirmity with all [...]

  • Jodie Turner-SmithVariety Studio Comic-Con, Day 1,

    'Queen and Slim' Star Jodie Turner-Smith Joins Michael B. Jordan in 'Without Remorse' (EXCLUSIVE)

    After she plays the Bonnie to Daniel Kaluuya’s Clyde in Universal’s romantic thriller “Queen and Slim,” actress Jodie Turner-Smith will join Michael B. Jordan in Paramount’s adaptation of Tom Clancy’s “Without Remorse.” Turner-Smith will play Karen Greer a possible love interest to Jordan’s character. As recently announced, Jamie Bell will also co-star as Robert Ritter, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content