Movie Review - Simon Killer

Brady Corbet (Melancholia and Martha Marcy May Marlene) stars as Simon, a young man who recently finished studying neuroscience in the United States but who goes to Paris, France, to house-sit at a family friend's place. Simon has also recently broken up with his girlfriend who now works at ad agency. We never meet her, but Simon is constantly talking to her through narration. We assume the narration is verbalization of letters he writes to her. This movie is therefore Simon trying to deal with the loss of her and how it affects him deeply.

Simon masturbates a lot on his laptop, but one night walking the streets of Paris, he's lured into a sex club where he meets Victoria, a sex worker with whom he becomes attached. At first, he latches onto her, it seems, out of loneliness and desperation, but actually Simon's true motive might be something more sinister and premeditated. If he's hatched this plan in advance, the question is why and once his true intentions and feelings are revealed, it's difficult to maintain any emotional connection to Simon.

Writer-director Antonio Campos utilizes long, continuous takes where he hardly edits within a scene, even one with a lot of dialogue. Campos even keeps his camera at mid-level, so that anytime his characters stand up,  their heads get cut off. Campos won't tilt up or raise his camera, so we have to watch headless people interact with each other. Again, this makes it hard to maintain emotional connection to Simon or Victoria.

The movie has several very graphic sex scenes, particularly between Simon and Victoria. One scene, for example, involves Victoria placing her thumb in Simon's ass. Again, the question is why. We see Simon and Victoria in these encounters, but the true encounters of interest are between Victoria and her clients whom become the victims of blackmail.

Campos barely provides us with any information about why he broke up with the ad agency girl. Was it something he did or she did it? Simon's narration doesn't help too much in explaining. His character is at times very passive and other times very aggressive, and there's no rhyme or reason. There's no progression where his aggressions or passivity build or descend.

Two Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but recommended for mature audiences.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 45 mins.


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