This strange combination of comedy, violence, fantasy, and suspense tells the story of Fred (Christopher Lamber), a safe cracker who is hiding in the dark tunnels of the Paris subway system after stealing documents from a shady businessman. There he meets a subterranean society of strange characters and small time crooks. He also finds love with Helena (Isabelle Adjani), robs a train, and starts a rock band. (official distributor synopsis)


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English I remember squirming bitterly at Antal's Control, not because the film was in any way bad, but because the story was a lot like one I had been carrying in my head for a long time back then (only set in Prague's Congress Centre). And I didn't even know at the time that in 1985 Besson had made essentially the same thing, only with a protagonist who was a visual combination of me and Johnny Violent. Subway is a chaotic jumble of scenes and themes set in the underworld of the Paris subway with a real youthful edge that blocks anyone from trying to rationalize, classify, and generally just figure the film out. Besson wanted to be the protesting voice of youth, following in the footsteps of Godard and Truffaut, but instead he was simply a young calf spinning after skirts. This is what makes Subway such a pure, untamed, and unrestrained film with its own rare charm. ()


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English Subway could be considered a textbook example of French neo-baroque in film, as it exhibits almost all the characteristic features of this artistic movement. The film comes across as one long and very colourful clip, in which we are introduced to bizarre characters for whom harsh words and hits of violence are the order of the day, while the plot is, as the title suggests, set in a subway, which creates the strange atmosphere of a convoluted maze in which different characters pass by to confront each other, all with a haunting musical score. In short, a solid and brisk film that I can highly recommend. ()



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English Subway is by no means a masterpiece, but after watching it, you want to blow off the whole system and just wander around in the Paris Metro, play with Jean Reno and his eccentric band, and fall in love with Isabelle Adjani. Though this goofy Besson variation on a Jarmusch ode to independence is not stunning, it definitely leaves you in a pleasant, contented mood and a desire to weather even the biggest storms. ()

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