Directed by Lucas Belvaux, starring Lucas Belvaux, Catherine Frot, Ornella Muti, Dominique Blanc, Gilbert Melki and Patrick Descamps.

One of the most unusual and ambitious cinematic undertakings of recent years, writer-director-actor Lucas Belvaux's 'La Trilogie' are three genre movies with overlapping storylines and characters - protagonists in one become bit players in another. The films can be viewed as standalone stories or in any order but together form a complex study of love, suspicion and betrayal. Their sequencing in Irish cinemas is the best, with thriller 'On the Run' being followed by French romp 'An Amazing Couple' (27 November) and finally the dark drama 'After Life' (5 December).

Here, the focus is Bruno (played by Belvaux himself), an anarchist who escapes from prison after 15 years, determined to renew his campaign of violence against the State. There's also a score to settle with Jacquillat (Descamps), a drug dealer who Bruno believes set him up. But with his network either dead, in jail or, in the case of former comrade Jeanne (Frot), moved on to a family and a teaching career, Bruno has to wage his war with seemingly no-one to turn to. Help and a hideout, however, arrive from an unlikely source: Agnès (Blanc), an opium-addicted colleague of Jeanne's, and the wife of the policeman (Melki) who's leading the hunt for him.

The hype surrounding Tarantino splitting 'Kill Bill' may have been a little more subdued had Belvaux's triptych made it to screens before him. And your admiration for his achievement of doing three jobs and making three films all at once grows the more you get locked into this multi-angle story. And the twist is that scenes, which you think are just incidental, turn out to have greater meaning later on.

As the enigmatic anti-hero, Belvaux is chillingly effective, introducing the theme of isolated men, which is developed further in the 'sequels'. There are times when, in his role as a director, he lets the tension slip but this is a film that makes more sense, and grows in stature, when viewed in the context of the other two.

You may balk at having to go and see the three films within the space of three weeks, but after what Belvaux has put himself through, every movie fan owes it to him.

Harry Guerin