Serial Killer 1
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Franck (Raphae l Personnaz) is an eager rookie homicide squad inspector. When a woman is found with her throat cut, he shrewdly unearths parallels between previously unrelated cases. Before he knows it, Franck is caught up in an eight-year obsessive hunt for Serial Killer 1, a man whose very existence is questioned by others. Loosely based on the investigation into real-life murderer Guy Georges, aka the Beast Of The Bastille (whose lurking disorder is deftly captured by Adama Niane), the story milks suspense from the procedural aspects of the manhunt, the false leads, dead ends, and the stifling bureaucracy of a police force hindered by dwindling budgets and a knee-jerk insistence on outdated, traditional methods.
Bonus Features: English Subtitles
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Top Customer Reviews
I knew that it was French, and subtitled, and many other viewers have complained about that. I will admit, I usually like watching movies where the audio is in English, but there are pluses and minuses either way. If you've watched enough French film, or German film, etc., you will quickly realize that, on average, these foreign movies are far superior to the junk food that is pumped out for consumption by American audiences. In America, it seems as if movies target young male audiences, between the ages of eight and 15; while in France, it seems as if movies target a more adult audience. This is almost surely true, and I think this is the case because, in America, everything comes down to the bottom line. Young people go to movies, they buy the tickets, and so the producers and directors pump out the eye candy on screen while the concession stand workers serve up sugary soda in the lobby. All the while, if I go to the theater myself and watch a newly-released American film -- I rarely do anymore, partly because I have a 4K TV with a 100 MB Internet connection and a 4K DirecTV system, but more so because there are so few films worth watching -- I just sit there and roll my eyes. And groan.
And in SK1, the French trend continues, merci beaucoup. I didn't know much about this case before watching, which is surprising, because it seems that I know more about serial killers than most people, outside of authors and the FBI. That's what happens when you read too many true-crime books and watch too much ID TV. There are crime-scene photos shown here, along with crime scene recreations, that are not for the meek. That was part of the reason that I believed it was a documentary; the images are so real. But just like Jack Nicholson said in the very overrated American "classic" "A Few Good Men," which ironically had fewer than that: "You can't handle the truth." Well, the film was lousy, but Jack's words are probably correct, at least with American producers and directors. Americans don't WANT to see the dirty details and truth. This doesn't seem to be the case with a French audience, though.
That doesn't mean that the detectives here -- and the police departments in which they work -- always like the truth though. The movie is really interesting, in the sense that it shows how politics and "fiefdoms" can allow a serial killer to roam the streets and kill at will. There are some French laws and cultural differences as well, at least the way the film portrays, that work against the detectives and work for the serial killer. I've been to France a couple of times, but without living there, I can't say for sure if these problems truly exist. I believe they do, however. After all, once again, I thought this film was a documentary, so they had me believing from the opening French credits.
And the acting is top-notch. American actors tend to over-act, while foreign actors often act naturally. Everything feels real to me here, and in particular, there are some courtroom scenes that are riveting. I truly felt like a fly on the wall. And without giving out a spoiler, there is one scene, near the end of the film, in a courtroom that probably left many viewers weeping. I was on the edge, and I usually only cry when my team loses the Super Bowl. Or the World Cup.
Well, if Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel were still alive, may they rest in peace, I'm sure they would opine, "Two very big thumbs up! Oui oui!" Well, I have two thumbs myself, so I'll fill in for them and do the same. Au revoir.