Simon Killer

The second film from American writer-director Antonio Campos (‘Afterschool’) is a tricky one to come to grips with. As with his striking, unsettling 2008 debut, there are isolated scenes in ‘Simon Killer’ that take the breath away, and moments of psychological insight and stylistic boldness which force the viewer to pay attention. Yet somehow, the film as a whole never feels complete or satisfying – which is perhaps appropriate for a film about modern disaffection, but still frustrating. Brady Corbet is astonishing as Simon, a postgrad backpacker whose holiday in Paris is an escape from a bruising breakup. But is Simon really a little boy lost? Or is it all just a self-serving act? Campos’s inversion of the ‘Hostel’-style American-abroad template is witty and relevant. (What’s the US presence in the Middle East but a whole army of perplexed, disjointed Simons?) And the film is grimly compelling. But the overall sense
of chilly disengagement becomes trying, and there’s a last-minute switch that suggests that Campos is trying to have his croissant and eat it.

Release details

Rated: 18
Release date: Thursday April 11 2013
Duration: 105 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Antonio Campos
Cast: Brady Corbet
Mati Diop
Michaël Abiteboul
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