Two young men on the run, hijack a car only to discover a man asleep in the back seat. The three become close, sharing their problems and taking off together in search of the different types of love lacking in their lives.
A mature and truly revelatory departure from the glossy superficiality of Beineix's earlier work, this is further distinguished by a sense that it was made by a director in his twilight trying to impart the wisdom and foresight of his years, rather than by the youthful 47 year-old we know Beineix to be.
Indeed, both in the visceral and intellectual sense, this is very much an old man's film with Montand in, sadly, his last role at the centre of a haunting, nostalgic, and very personal reflection on love and youth and the enlightenment that comes with great age. In a quietly dignified performance, he plays Leon, the gentle sage to a pair of unappealingly violent city kids, Tony (Martinez) and Jockey (Sail), whom he meets accidentally when he is discovered in the back of a car they have hijacked.
All three are on the run Leon from an asylum and the constrictions of old age, Tony and Jockey from wretched urban lives and the confusion of youth and, though it takes time for them to realise it, all three are in search of much the same thing: Leon for the lost love of his youth; Tony for the new love of his life; and Jockey for the parental love he never had. With his unorthodox, spiritual outlook on life, Leon leads this lost pair on his own personal voyage of discovery, and on to an unexpected denouement and a greater understanding and appreciation of who and what they all are.
At once sad and joyful, disillusioned and full of hope, grey-tinged and bursting with colour, this somehow adds up to far more than the sum of its parts: as visually stunning cinema, as a glorious celebration of the uncomfortable vices and comforting virtues of human nature, and as fine and fitting a swan song for Montand as ever there could be.
With Yves Montand in his final role, dying of a heart attack, days after his character died the same way, it's pleasing to know his last film was such a worthy piece. The relationship with the three men is not overly sentimental while the French scenery is stunning particularly towards the end.