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The follow-up to Antonio Campos' critically acclaimed AFTERSCHOOL, SIMON KILLER is an erotic and and psychological portrait of Simon (Brady Corbet, MELANCHOLIA, MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE), a well-educated, handsome and seemingly sympathetic college graduate with just a hint of something off-putting enough to ignite a sense of concern. Recently heartbroken, Simon travels to Paris to clear his head. After several days of wandering aimlessly, Simon finds himself drawn into a sex parlor and has a sexual encounter with an exotic prostitute, Victoria (Mati Diop, 35 SHOTS OF RUM). The chemistry builds between the two until they find themselves in a serious relationship, one that leads to blackmail, betrayal and the ultimate revelation of Simon's true nature.
For more about Simon Killer and the Simon Killer Blu-ray release, see Simon Killer Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on August 20, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Brady Corbet, Nicolas Ronchi, Constance Rousseau, Lila Salet, Etienne Rotha Moeng, Alexandra Neil
Director: Antonio Campos
» See full cast & crew
Simon Killer Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, August 20, 2013
Antonio Campos' "Simon Killer" (2012) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Eureka Entertainment. The supplemental features on the disc include an original trailer for the film; new video interview with director Antonio Campos, actor Brady Corbet, and their mothers; video interview with Antonio Campos and producers Sean Durkin and Josh Mond; new video interview with Antonio Campos; the short film "The Last 15"; and more. The release also arrives with an illustrated booklet featuring Simon Killer by Karina Longworth; Interview with Antonio Campos by Craig Keller; Interview with Brady Corbet by Hans Morgenstern; and The Evolution of a Film Poster by Brandon Schaefer. In English and French, with optional English and English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
American college graduate Simon (Brady Corbet, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Funny Games) arrives in Paris to find something he has been looking for. He isn't entirely sure what the something is, but he is convinced that this is the place where he will discover it.
Soon after his cousin Carlo (Nicholas Ronchi) gives him the keys to his apartment and tells him that he is heading to the South of France, Simon meets Victoria (Mati Diop, 35 rhums), a lonely prostitute who works in a shady night club. He buys her a drink and then makes love to her. Later on, Simon sees Victoria again and convinces her to let him stay at her place. The two make love again, free of charge, and this time Victoria reveals to him that before becoming a prostitute she had a husband who loved to abuse her. Moved by the girl's sincerity, Simon comes up with a plan he is convinced will put an end to her misery – if Victoria tapes a few of her wealthy clients with a smart phone, he would help her exchange the footage for money. The first client Simon approaches, however, tells him that he is a cop who can easily beat him up. Simon quickly disappears, but the 'cop' ends up teaching Victoria an important lesson.
While Victoria is recovering, Simon spends time with Marianne (Constance Rousseau, A World Without Women), a classier girl he meets on the streets of Paris. Eventually Simon returns to Victoria, but she tells him that she no longer needs him because he is a liar and cheater like every other man she sees daily in the club.
Antonio Campos' second feature film Simon Killer is a notably atmospheric piece that reminds of Sebastien Lifshitz's work. It tells a story, but its goal is not to take its audience on a memorable journey; rather, the film creates a specific environment and welcomes the audience to experience it. This is the reason why the true identity of its main protagonist remains hidden.
Like Lifshitz, Campos also likes to highlight important transitions. He uses color manipulations that look like short fragments from strange dreams. Lifshitz typically uses longer flashbacks that link past and present events.
Campos' apparent desire to be the audience's intimate guide in the seedy side of Paris where the main protagonist in his film gets lost, however, quickly frustrates. After the trips to the night clubs where the American impresses the French girls, the film becomes almost unbearably chaotic. There is random graphic sex, ambiguous conversations, and fancy camerawork that do not serve a specific purpose – other than possibly trying to further enhance the desired by Campos very specific visual style for his film.
The film is also complimented by a very trendy soundtrack, featuring songs by Spectral Display ("It Takes a Muscle to Fall in Love"), Glasser ("Apply"), Sim Kid ("Miles to Go"), and Austra (the super stylish dance hit "Beat and the Pulse").
Campos and Joe Anderson shot Simon Killer with the Arri Alexa camera on location in Paris. (Anderson also assisted Campos on his directorial debut Afterschool in 2008).
Note: Last year, Simon Killer was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
Simon Killer Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Antonio Campos' Simon Killer arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Eureka Entertainment.
Shot with the Arri Alexa camera, the film has the appropriate crisp look. Excluding sequences where light is intentionally restricted, close-ups convey excellent depth. Clarity is also very pleasing, even during the nighttime footage. Contrast levels are stable throughout the entire film, but the film never looks too sharp or contrasty. Colors are rich, stable, and very natural. There are no serious transfer-specific anomalies to report in this review. However, there are a few sequences where extremely light compression artifacts sneak in (see screencapture #16). Overall image stability is outstanding. To sum it all up, this is an exceptionally strong presentation of Simon Killer that is guaranteed to please its fans. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray release. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Simon Killer Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one standard audio track on this Blu-ray release: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. For the record, Eureka Entertainment have provided optional English SDH subtitles fore the main feature. When turned on, they appear inside the image frame. Also included are optional English subtitles for the portions of the film where French is spoken.
The lossless track is fantastic. The dialog is exceptionally crisp, clear, and always extremely easy to follow. It is the film's trendy soundtrack, however, that benefits the most from the lossless treatment - the music is remarkably lush and rich. For the record, there are no audio pops, cracks, dropouts, or distortions to report in this review.
Simon Killer Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Simon Killer Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I have mixed feelings about this film. There are small parts of it that I liked - the atmosphere there is excellent and the ambiguity works rather well. But the rest of the film feels like an unusually long exercise in style that quickly frustrates. Eureka Entertainment's technical presentation of Simon Killer, however, is excellent. RENT IT.
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Simon Killer Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Simon Killer Blu-ray - July 29, 2013
British distributors Eureka Entertainment have officially announced and detailed their upcoming Blu-ray release of director Antonio Campos' second feature Simon Killer (2012), starring Brady Corbet, Lila Salet, and Mati Diop. The release will be available for ...
• Simon Killer - March 6, 2013
Eureka Entertainment announced today the theatrical release of Simon Killer (2012), a deeply disturbing character study of a 'post-graduation summer' in Paris, by a handsome sociopath in the making, from Director Antonio Campos, the writer and director of the critically ...
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