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Simon Killer (2012)

Brady Corbet , Mati Diop , Antonio Campos  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Brady Corbet, Mati Diop
  • Directors: Antonio Campos
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: September 17, 2013
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00D6I7GC8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,074 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

A heartbroken American on a soul-searching trip to Paris finds his buried secrets clawing their way to the surface in this neo-noir thriller from writer/director Antonio Campos (Afterschool). Lovelorn in the aftermath of a recent break-up with his longtime girlfriend, American college graduate Simon (Brady Corbet) wanders the streets of Paris aimlessly, and drifts into a sex parlor where he encounters mysterious prostitute Victoria (Mati Diop). His emotions suddenly reawakened, Simon hatches a plan to blackmail one of her wealthy clients -- a crime that has some unexpected repercussions for all involved.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Despite an advertising campaign that might suggest that this is a pulse pounding thriller, writer/director Antonio Campos has fashioned a slow burn character study in "Simon Killer." What's particularly unusual about this presentation, however, is that we don't know very much about the central figure even though we spend every moment of the film with him. As bits and pieces of his personality and story emerge, we're never really sure of the whole truth. Is he a likable misfit? A needy loner looking for love? A obsessive type that won't let go? Or is he something inherently more disturbing? As portrayed by Brady Corbet, in easily his most compelling performance to date, Simon is an enigma. He has many layers, but you're never sure you want to peel off his mild mannered exterior. His choices are questionable as are his motivations, but what exactly drives him? "Simon Killer," in an intriguing choice, leaves you to make up your own mind about a lot of these questions. Through the course of the film, my opinion continued to evolve until the final scene. And the movie has a haunting quality that caused it to remain in my thoughts long after I'd finished it. To me, that always means they got something right!

The movie begins as Corbet has arrived in Paris. A recent college graduate, he is still hurting from a break-up with his childhood sweetheart. He seems to need the time away to purge some unpleasant experiences from his memory. In letters and calls, we learn that he has disappointed his parents and became rather confrontational with his girlfriend. But we really only hear hints of what transpired from his perspective. After spending much time alone, he starts to seek out the attention of the local ladies. And he befriends a professional who works at a local sex club.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic but definitely not for everyone June 11, 2013
Told almost as a modern-day version of the novel In a Lonely Place, Simon Killer places us with a young American man fresh upon arrival in Paris (or so he says). He is struggling with getting over his ex, and falls in love with a French prostitute, also with (literal) scars. As seen in the trailer (so no spoilers), the two devise a scheme to blackmail her clients for cash. This doesn't quite work out.

The narrative, though, is secondary to the extraordinary and wholly disturbing vision that is presented to us. The sex scenes, while erotic, are almost joyless, with Simon's lovers' heads often out of the shot, giving us a view of Simon leering at their nude bodies, or forcing them to turn around and face the opposite way, further dehumanizing his sexual partners.

The unique experience of this film is further developed through the contrast of highly cinematic, "fake"-feeling camera work with exceptionally neorealistic dialogue and acting. The very long shots feel as if we could be there watching live, but with the slight disconnect of a perfectly framed angle, or smooth turns bridging opposite characters or ends of the room.

The focal point of the film, of course, is Simon himself, delivered in a fantastic performance by Brady Corbet (who you may recognize from Thirteen). He is nearly impossible to take your eyes off of, and gives a remarkably rich and believable portrayal of a womanizer, criminal, and yes, killer.

Simon Killer is also extraordinary in how much it takes us by surprise - we rarely get films, either studio or independent, which places us with your everyday man who has the potential to kill.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A socopath too chicken to be Tom Ripley September 27, 2013
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
Story of a young man who is a totally amoral bastard. But he's a mamas boy which doesn't fit the type. FrenchSenegalese director Mati Diop in a major acting role is a real find. She added a couple of stars to my rating,
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oppressive excellence March 17, 2014
Americans in Paris,film-makers who are returning to their inspirational source,like writers once did in the twenties. However, this is not the Paris of French film-makers,it is a foreshortened version, bodies decapitated by the screen cut. Campos is a product of Borderline,the talented film-maker collective behind last year's Sundance hit Martha Marcy May Marlene. Simon Killer is his follow-up to Afterschool.Technically advanced,strange angles,oppressive,close-up character study,moving pans,drenched in colour screens,abrupt musical intros,the unreliable narrator with sociopathic tendencies.Playing a creepy character as in Funny Games.

Simon (Brady Corbet) claims to be a graduate in neuroscience,concerned with how the brain processes peripheral vision,yet he doesn't know what `nystagmus' is,a condition of Marianne,one of his pick-ups.He is a compulsive liar.His emails to his ex are all in his voiceovers, even hers to him.He also towards the end tells the passport control officer he's studying French literature, like the last girl he met.In truth Simon is alone in Paris looking for sex,full of deadly cunning,cut adrift from empathy or values. Ripley comes to mind,but even he would never stoop so low as to get his prostitute girl friend to film and blackmail customers.

Chronicling the downward spiral of this inept protagonist,Campos subverts noir expectations,he is ably abetted by Mati Diop, touching as Victoria,who Simon moves in with and battens onto.He believes his lies until Mati peels away at them towards the end as he has gorged his confidence to launch into a new relationship as her spark dims. The sex is true to life.Simon treats women as objects to his own narcissim.There are languorous camera movements and surprising focal points in many scenes e.g.
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