Simon Killer Movie Review
Directed by Antonio Campos
Written by Antonio Campos, Brady Corbet, Mati Diop
2012, 105 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on August 26th 2013
Brady Corbet as Simon
Constance Rousseau as Marianne
Nicolas Ronchi as Carlo
Lila Salet as Sophie
Alexandra Neil as Simon's Mom
Simon Killer is a sleazy psychological thriller chronicling one man’s descent into darkness. No, we’re not talking about some maniacally grinning, genre trope murderer here. The terrors on show in director Antonio Campos’ American speaking Euro horror have their feet set firmly on the ground. All the terrible things in this chilling character study feel scarily within reach. Like they could be happening just outside your door, down the wrong alley on the wrong night. Perhaps that’s what makes Simon Killer all the more affecting. Its scenes slowly bleed together (literally), making the whole experience feel like a nightmare psychosis. Campos invites you on a sombre tour of the neon lit, pop-synth scored Parisian streets through the eyes and fractured mind of a lost American graduate. For better or worse, it’s a trip that’s not easily forgotten.
Our very unlikable guide Simon is in a bit of a rut. Having finished with both university and the love of his life (one with flying colours, one not so much) he’s escaped to Paris. As we watch him mope around his apartment, drafting endless emails to an unresponsive ex and whacking off to internet porn, we glimpse into his dark state of mind. Desperately alone, Simon wanders into a back-alley brothel where he meets Marianne, a prostitute that looks through his sullen interior to the broken man beneath. The two slowly hit it off, starting a relationship that’s at first fueled by Marianne’s sympathy and Simon’s lust but quickly becomes a more serious affair.
Their pairing is almost cute. The poor prostitute and broken man compliment each other, fixing their respective wounds. It borders on fairy tale. But this isn’t a fairy tale and the dark reality soon hits home. Convincing Marianne to blackmail some of her wealthier clients, Simon kicks off the first of many despicable life choices that make him the most unsympathetic of characters. After some initial success, the price of their acts catch up with them by which point Simon’s eyes have wandered and his decisions turned decidedly more destructive.
It’s frustrating. For a while salvation’s in reach but when Simon’s selfishness shows its face you’ll see the dream slip away as quickly as it came. Like any sociopath he’s without remorse, sheepishly running away when confronted by his blackmail-ees, guilt-tripping his good natured friends for a place to stay and lashing out at those who kindly offered him help. Campos plants us right in the thick of it, his voyeuristic camera lingering on intimate, personal and even dangerous moments, allowing us to drink in the bitter atmosphere. While the story flounders a little somewhere between things going from bad to worse, its uneasy air and your need to see where Brady Corbet’s hateable Simon goes next is enough to have you hooked.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.