Simon Killer (2012) | Antonio Campos’ psychological thriller is as empty and soulless as the character being put under the lens


Alone and adrift in Paris, American college graduate Simon (Brady Corbet) tries to get over his recent break-up with his girlfriend by taking solace in the company of prostitute, Victoria (Mati Diop). But after Simon finally wins her trust, it’s not long before he starts looking for a replacement in his affections.

Simon Killer

One of the basic rules of filmmaking is that an audience must be able to sympathise with the characters – no matter how repellent they may be. But in this kitchen sink drama masquerading as psychological thriller, there is little to empathise in the character of Simon. Not that there is anything wrong with the acting, as Brady Corbet gives his all playing the sleazy little toe-rag who flits from one woman to another like a magpie in search of a new nest. What this film lacks is soul, and that’s down to the story, the direction and the camerawork.

With its cramped Parisian apartment setting and two central characters, director Antonio CamposSimon Killer is reminiscent of Bertolucci’s erotic dramas Last Tango in Paris and The Dreamers – but minus the kinky sex, big star names and colourful period settings. With his incredibly slow pans and headless framing, Campos strives to be  arty in a Jean-Luc Godard/existential kind of way, but he fails to deliver. And as for the story, well there isn’t one and there’s no killer to speak of. For me, Campos’ psychological thriller is as empty and soulless as the character being put under the lens.

Eureka Entertainment’s The Masters of Cinema Series release includes a Blu-ray presentation (progressive presentation on the DVD); behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with Antonio Campos, producers Sean Durkin and Josh Mond, and Brady Corbet, trailer and booklet. Also included is Campos’ Palme d’Or nominated short film, The Last 15, which is actually way more interesting than the feature.

A Maybe Miss – because of all of the above.


About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on August 26, 2013, in Maybe Miss, Maybe-Miss, Psychological thriller, The Masters of Cinema, Thriller and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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