Review: Simon Killer / Cert: 18 / Director: Antonio Campos / Screenplay: Antonio Campos, Brady Corbet/ Starring: Brady Corbet, Lila Salet, Mati Diop/ Release Date: August 26th
People named Simon, rest easy. No one wants to kill you. While that would be an original concept for a horror film, the idea of a serial killer who only victimises people called Simon is quite limited. Especially in France, where Simon Killer is set.
No, Simon (Corbet) himself is the killer in question, a heartbroken young man who travels to Paris in order to clear his clouded head and heart. There he meets and hires Victoria (Diop), a local prostitute. So plays out Simon Killer, a very classy European genre movie noticeably lacking in much killing, be it via Simon or otherwise. Lots of sweaty European sex though, if that's what floats your boat. Anyway, as Simon and Victoria get closer and closer, their business transactions begin to take on a completely different tack. It's not long before the money goes out of the window and Simon is in a relationship with a prostitute. She, meanwhile, is in a relationship with an increasingly dangerous, unhinged man. Nobody's perfect.
Artfully shot, occasionally subtitled and utterly humourless, Simon Killer won't be everyone's cup of tea. By the time Simon looks like he might make good on the promise of the title, he'll already have lost a lot of people. It's reminiscent of such pieces as Possession and Irreversible, crossed with a Tom Ripley story. It's only a Ryan Gosling away from being a Nicolas Winding Refn film. It looks fantastic, whether it's depicting the neon-lit streets of Paris, a crowded nightclub or the intimacy of Simon's bedroom. Simon isn't a terribly charismatic or likeable sociopath (bad form, shouting at people for speaking French in France) but the interesting look and mood of the film makes it worth sticking with. It should play very well to the art house crowd, who can enjoy its sensuous, steamy sex scenes (not in a sleazy way), artier camera tricks and moody atmospherics.
Far from simple, Simon isn't quite killer, but nor is it a complete loss either.
Extras: Behind the scenes footage / Interviews / Trailer / Booklet