One Night… a Train begins as a grounded domestic drama but quickly leaves that station, bound for a strange dream, once our leads Mathias and Anne (Yves Montand, Anouk Aimee) set out on a train ride of their own. Mathias falls asleep and sees troubling images. When he wakes he finds Anne missing and the train inexplicably stopped in the middle of nowhere. In his search for Anne and for answers, dreams and reality converge, and the film lifts our character up and places him on rails, not stopping this time until he reaches the end.
The literal imagery of the train paired with the uneasy sense of Mathias’ journey being a haunted, slow-moving locomotive with no brakes is deeply affecting. The use of sound to create this hallucinatory through-line weaving scenes, these states of consciousness and surreality together, is crucial in achieving this.