There’s a brilliant tension at the heart of the new film by the consistently challenging French director André Téchiné, “The Girl on the Train.” This is a work about an ambiguity—its disturbing central event is an act fueled by mysterious motivation, and it’s enacted by a character whom we only think we have come to know and understand, a young Parisian woman named Jeanne (Emilie Dequenne). Yet, as is the case with Téchiné, the film is shot with a searching, unceasing motion that digs deep into the images onscreen, looking for answers. Téchiné’s cinema is tactile, penetrative; with the help of director of photography Julien Hirsch (the immensely talented cinematographer of Godard’s “In Praise of Love” and Téchiné’s recent “Changing Times” and “The Witnesses”), he wishes to get the bottom of what makes this character tick. Yet certain aspects of human nature are simply impenetrable.
This doesn’t stop the director from sidling up as close as possible to the people at the center of this story, which is based on a true-life incident that took French media by storm in 2004. Read the rest of Michael Koresky’s review of The Girl on the Train.