“Simon Killer” is a hypnotizing noir set in the City of Lights

Simon Killer

Set in a dark, seedy and desolated Paris, “Simon Killer” is a neo-noir character study on a overemotional and cowardly young man who has a habit of making eerie sounds whenever he becomes frustrated.

Simon (Brady Corbet) is a recent college graduate who has just broken up with his girlfriend after five years together. To get his mind off the breakup, he decides to take a week-long vacation to Paris. After failing to hookup with some local Parisian girls, he turns to pornography and prostitution for comfort. After meeting and befriending a prostitute (Mati Diop), he convinces her to blackmail some of her clients.

While the plot isn’t developed enough to be truly compelling, “Simon Killer” allows writer-director Antonio Campos (“Afterschool”) to hypnotize moviegoers by experimenting with a different and unique directorial style like filling the screen with pulsating seizure-inducing bright colors in order to give you a glimpse inside the mind of Simon. There are several sequences in this film that allows Campos to show moviegoers the isolation and sadness that Simon experiences during his trip in Paris whether it is backing off from an impending fight to alone in his room where he pleasures himself with the use of sex chatrooms and porno.

Corbett delivers an amazing performance as the title character as his time in Paris begins to unravel and spiral out of control as the movie progresses. There is also a sense of darkness that hides beneath the personal and unsettling exterior of the character as there are hints that he may be a sociopath who manipulates people’s emotions just for kicks. He seems to have somewhat of a troubled background by displaying some weird tics like making unnerving, errant noises when he starts to become frustrated. As his blackmailing begins to backfire on him, Simon becomes increasingly emotional and volatile with a sense that he is an emotional ticking timebomb waiting to explode.

“Simon Killer” is a dark noir that will leave moviegoers hypnotized with Campos’ unique directorial style and a compelling performance from Corbet as a lonely young man who gets lost in the seedy underworld of the City of Lights.

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