Picks and Pans Review: Red

updated 12/12/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/12/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

Irene Jacob, Jean-Louis Trintignant

This is the concluding film in director Krzysztof Kieslowski's thematic trilogy inspired by the French national motto. Blue concerned liberty, White equality, and this one's subject is fraternity. I haven't seen the other two, but Red, filmed in Geneva, is a weird little charmer—winsomely metaphysical, if such a thing is possible. Jacob, a model whose image is about to appear on a billboard advertising chewing gum, hits a German shepherd with her car. The dog belongs to a sad, reclusive old judge (Trintignant, looking startlingly like Van Morrison) who mulls over life and love. The omniscient-seeming Trintignant, Jacob learns, eavesdrops on his neighbors with a huge ham-radio kit. She's tempted to squeal but, fascinated by his wise if crabby observations, doesn't.

The movie, which in America would be a romantic comedy about paralegal Julia Roberts thawing out retired Supreme Court Justice Clint Eastwood, has something to do with souls making and missing connections—specifically, Jacob and Trintignant, and Jacob and her neighbor, a romantically frustrated recent law-school graduate who may even be a younger incarnation of the judge. What's undeniable—and what ultimately makes the movie a pleasure—is that Trintignant is terrific and that he and Jacob, who boasts the sexiest jawline on the planet, make a beautiful couple. They should be put on an island and allowed to breed their own exquisite race of philosophically pained children. (R)

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