Though it may not be the most cogent entry
in the Besson canon, Subway still has much to recommend it 25
years after its initial release, and the R4 Blu-ray release will be
welcome news for fans of the French directorís inimitable visual flair.
The action opens with the dinner
jacket-clad Fred (Highlanderís Christopher Lambert, here credited
as Christophe) driving down a motorway, a BMW full of equally suavely
attired villains in hot pursuit. In typical Besson fashion however the
car chase doesnít go entirely according to filmic convention: Fred
refuses to take part until he has located his favourite cassette,
fumbling around as his car is repeatedly rammed by that of his
pursuers. Eventually he manages to get the appropriate chase music
blaring, and the thrilling sequence continues at ridiculous speeds
through the streets of Paris.
We soon learn that Fred is a thief, a safe
cracker, and has stolen some valuable documents from the home of a
wealthy businessman. In his efforts to elude the incensed victimís
henchmen Fred seeks refuge in the Parisian subway system, where he comes
into contact with a ragtag assortment of drifters, hustlers, dropouts
and dreamers, each with their own reasons for seeking shelter in this
subterranean, artificially illuminated world. Jean Reno and the
stunning Isabelle Adjani lead an immensely talented ensemble cast, and a
typically intoxicating score from longtime Besson collaborator Eric
Serra adds to the unpredictable, occasionally carnivalesque atmosphere.
Part heist movie, part unlikely love story,
Subway feels occasionally as though its characterisations take
precedence at the expense of the plot, but remains an effective and
darkly comic turn from the then-budding auteur (despite this being his
second feature Besson was only 25 at the time of production). Madmanís
release is again short on extra incentives, but the film itself wonít
leave viewers wanting.
Audio & Video
The present transfer looks a little grainy
and washed-out. It also appears to have been sourced from more than one
print, and unfortunately both show their age. Itís still superior to
any DVD edition thus far released on local shores, but a far cry from
the crystal clear image most of us have come to associate with Blu-ray.
On the audio front only an LPCM French 2.0 is on offer, though it proves
strong and clear, with decent separation.
None. Oh wait,
thereís a theatrical trailer. So none, really.