Posted by: greercn | April 19, 2013

Simon Killer

The shocks in this are genuinely gripping because it all starts out so normally. Yet, the title tells you to expect big twists.

Simon is a young American visiting Europe. He stays with a perfectly normal friend, who has to go out of town, leaving Simon on his own in Paris, France.

We know from the movies that everyone in Paris has stunning views of the city and we get a few of those.

Recently out of a long relationship and having graduated from university in the USA, Simon’s trying to figure out what to do next.

Everyone smokes cigarettes in Paris, according to “Simon Killer” so there’s one shock. Even flamboyantly druggie movies avoid showing quite so much casual tobacco use. Even the dogs smoke. (No, they don’t, but they would if they were characters here).

Brady Corbet plays Simon with the right mix of regular guy and sinister overtones.  “Simon Killer” earns its 18 certificate with some very graphic internet sex in the early scenes.

Then, we’re off to a brothel and Simon forms a relationship with Victoria (Mati Diop), a young prostitute.

There is an awful lot of sex, which is meant to appeal to very young men but, frankly, did nothing for me. Slick observations about the nature of alienation in youth and hints that Simon is hiding some dark secrets creep in.

Director and co-writer (with Corbet and Diop) Antonio Campos made 2008’s “Afterschool”. Campos directs this very crisply and your attention never wanders from the screen.

Popular American soap opera actress Alexandra Neil shows up in a beautiful but brief scene, as Simon’s mother.

The music is all very hip and essential to the plot, yet adds to the deeper sense of horror and threat.

“Simon Killer” is being shown at Picturehouses as part of Discover Tuesdays next week and I’d recommend you see it, so long as you are over 18 and have a strong stomach.

Mostly in French, the English subtitles are excellent.

It’s stylish and original, but deeply disturbing. I saw it at Stratford East Picturehouse and I am still trying to erase its haunting images from my mind.

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