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1,179 Ratings

La bête humaine

Directed by Jean Renoir
France, 1938
Drama, Crime


On board a train bound for the port city of Le Havre, railroad stationmaster Roubard murders Grandmorin, who seduced his beautiful young wife, Severine. Engineer Jacques Lantier, stuck in Le Havre while the train is being repaired, also begins a passionate affair with Severine.

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La bête humaine Directed by Jean Renoir

Critics reviews

A grimly fatalistic tale about a train engineer’s inbred compulsion to murder, and his desperate attempts to restrain it, it is graced by an iconic Jean Gabin performance that attempts to go beyond good and evil… Lantier is a devilishly difficult character to portray, a victim of fate and genetics who still, in the end, commits heinous acts. He is something of a monster, and yet Gabin’s sensitive, wounded and defeated performance imbues him with what amounts to a soul.
June 13, 2017
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It reads as being especially nefarious, and certainly psychological, but Renoir holds true to his style and doesn’t burden the film with inquiry. Rather, he extracts the poetry from Zola’s text and translates it as poetic realism instead of any variation of actual realism.
August 05, 2016
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