Red Lights had been billed as a taut French psychological thriller. That says to me that plenty of things could go wrong, but the reviews tempted me in. As it happened the film was not bad, but it was not a taut psychological thriller. Based on a George Simenon story it is a neat little piece of writing, a fair piece of narrative slight of hand but you do end up saying so what.

The plot, since this is all about plot and not much else. Husband feels like getting drunk, but he and wife have to drive to the south of France. He stops on the way in a few bars anyway, which pisses her off (however nowhere in this film is the general ill-advisedness of drink driving ever broached). She leaves him to travel by train, he gets remorse, tries to catch her up at the next station. Fails. Picks up an escaped convict (oh, did I mention the escaped convict?) He gets lairy and our drunkard has to do something about it.

This is the first half of the story and it is unclear where they are going to get a second half from. And there is one scene which is worth the admission, of our hungover (anti-)hero using the house phone in a bar. Having been told to use it for local calls only, he proceeds to make obvious long distance call after long distance call, in a desperate attempt to find his wife. The barmaid is very helpful in the end, but this five minute sequence is masterful in its compression of detective work, and the inherent tension built by the mystery. It is a pity that what follows seems so pointless. Yes the dénouement is a surprising twist, but is nothing more than neat synchronicity of storytelling: the film fails to capitalise on the potential psychological aspects of the coincidence. Entertaining, but empty.