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  • Within its first 5 minutes I could already sense that I was about to watch a masterful movie. For this is a most brilliant study of, and glimpse into, the life of a sociopath. At times, it is so 'fly on the wall', and so brilliantly acted, that I almost had to remind myself that this was fiction I was witnessing.

    It's written and directed by Antonio Campos, who is admittedly not so well known as a screenwriter, having written only one other feature length movie back in 2008; A fact which is moreover, and to my belief, a tragedy for Campos - because he has most certainly proved himself with this movie, to be an exceptional screenwriter. Simon Killer is, in other words, extremely underrated. Nonetheless, as for its direction, production, acting, screenplay and musical score - all come together in an all too rare, & near perfect, unison.

    But why is it underrated? Basically, people cannot and just won't 'like' this movie, precisely because sociopaths are nasty people who callously make the lives of everyone they contact, worse for knowing them. Accordingly, watching a movie about such a person, even one that is as interesting and accurate as Simon Killer, is not therefore a fun or enjoyable experience for any typical audience - at least in the sense that 'enjoyable' should bring a smile onto one's face. For this movie won't endear smiles at any point.

    Whereas DeNero's studied psychopath, in Taxi Driver, occasionally brought a wry smile to one's face, and was popularly received as a bit of a misunderstood 'anti-hero', Brady Corbet's Simon is not only always engaging as a character study, but he's always, also, all too steely manipulating, and disgustingly self absorbed. Frankly, of the many movies I've seen, I can think of no other movie, before this, which so realistically portrays how a sociopath engages with other people who pass through his life. And, as such, I cannot recommend this movie highly enough, particularly for those of you, who are analytically minded enough, so as to appreciate its utter brilliance. Again, I'm not promising that anyone will, or could possibly 'like' this movie. Rather, I believe a minority of others will deeply appreciate its very excellence.
  • "Simon Killer" may the toughest film I've ever tried to categorize. It's not a horror film, it's not a thriller, it's not a romance, and it's not a drama. And yet, in another way, it *is* all of those. From the very title of the movie to the closing scene, this film defies all common conventions.

    "Simon Killer" is the story of Simon, played brilliantly by Brady Corbet, who has just graduated from college and comes to Paris to get over a bad breakup. We never meet Michelle, his ex, but based on Simon's e-mails to her and her reply, it was not a happy breakup, and maybe even worse than that. While there, he meets a drop-dead gorgeous hooker (Mati Diop) and they start a relationship.

    I could discuss more of the plot -- and there is definitely more, involving blackmail attempts and other events -- but really, it's irrelevant. The film basically invites us to watch Simon and what he does. And it's engrossing. And the question is, what IS Simon, really. He's not really a pleasant guy. Why is he doing what he's doing? Is he a pathological liar? Or just a confused kid telling small lies in a foreign land. Does he hate women and think they are only for sex? Or is it the opposite, and he gets deeply emotionally involved. "Simon Killer" is fascinating and potentially frustrating as it invites you to watch and yet refuses to give pat answers and instead, seems to raise more questions.

    Film, like all art, is subjective, and I found "Simon Killer" absolutely riveting. You may find it disturbing and uncomfortable, but I think it's worth the ride.
  • "Simon Killer" is an odd, bleak and deeply unsettling film that I simply could not get to grips with. It tells the story of a young American neuroscience graduate, Simon (Brady Corbet). Simon leaves the United States and goes to Paris in an attempt to get over the somewhat traumatic break-up of a five-year relationship with his girlfriend Michelle (a character who does not appear in the film). There is something not quite right about Simon. He is a bit like Patricia Highsmith's well-known anti-hero Tom Ripley: cold, unfeeling, amoral and emotionally unintelligent. He is also a compulsive liar.

    Soon after his arrival in the French capital (where he initially stays with a cousin of his - who is, in fact, not really a relation but a friend of the family), Simon goes into a sex club where he pays for sex with one of the resident prostitutes, Victoria (Mati Diop). As a result of that encounter, he develops a relationship with her and later moves into her small flat. Victoria opens up to Simon and tells him intimate details of her past, including the fact that she miscarried some time ago. Simon is less willing to disclose information about himself to Victoria. Indeed, one of the many problems with the film is that the viewer is given little or no hint as to what actually motivates Simon and why he frequently behaves so oddly. Part of that oddness is his attitude to women, whom he seems to view as nothing more than objects of sexual desire. At the same time, he attempts to blackmail some of Victoria's "customers" in order to finance his stay in Paris. He later meets another attractive young woman, whom he had bumped into earlier in his stay, and begins a brief relationship with her. This understandably upsets Victoria. Things move on from there.

    "Simon Killer" is a very unpleasant film. It is full of graphic sex scenes, many of which are quite unnecessary in that they add little or nothing to plot or character development. In addition, Simon is a deeply unsympathetic character. It is left to the viewer to decide why he is like he is. There are hints that he has some sort of Oedipus complex or perhaps a personality disorder (or both). What is clear is that he is an extremely selfish and shallow person who lacks any sort of empathy for other people. Much of the plot has the feel of improvisation about it. And it's really not at all clear what the message of the film is. In addition to all that, I was simply not convinced by the relationship between Simon and Victoria, in particular why, of all her many "customers", she would choose him as someone with whom to have a serious relationship. Although the conclusion of the film is well done, much of what precedes it is ponderous and lethargic and, as a result, extremely boring. The soundtrack, however, is one of the best of any film that I have seen. But when all is said and done, "Simon Killer" is an unsatisfactory film that is difficult to recommend. 5/10
  • themissingpatient17 October 2013
    Brady Corbet is Simon. Simon has just arrived in Paris, heart-broken over a recent break-up and uncertain about his future. After having sex with a prostitute he manipulates his way into a serious relationship with her. A relationship that involves drugs, blackmail, betrayal and weird sex.

    The less you know the better this memorizing masterpiece will be to experience for the first time. This is one sick and brilliant portrait of a sociopath made up of beautiful moving pictures set to an epic soundtrack. Antonio Campos has nailed it.

    Perfectly paced to place us in Simon's shoes, Simon Killer is horrifying eye and ear candy. It's slow and somewhat minimalistic but it's because of this that is seems all that more real. Therefore all that more frightening.
  • Simon Killer is the new Psychological thriller by Antonio Campos, the film follows Simon (played by Bradley Corbet) as he travels in Paris trying to forget about his girlfriend, whom he had just broken up wit, after staying together. One night as he wonders about he comes to a strip club, where he meets the stripper/prostitute Noura. (Played by Mati Diop.) Simon quickly falls in love with Noura and finds it difficult to spend time away from her and becomes jealous of the fact that she has to sleep with other men for her job. So to try and fix the situation he proposes that she should black mail one of the married men that come for her services. She reluctantly accepts, and they start their working on their trap, needless to say things do not go according to plan.

    Simon Killer is a very slow film, and sometimes it's pace works and other times it doesn't. Antonio Campos tries to lull you in with a slow hypnotic pace, working mainly through repetition and dream-like passage of time. The film does a good job of bringing you in with its pace, but unfortunately starts to lose its audience around the half way point. The film becomes very tedious with its repetition and we're not quite sure who we're supposed to be rooting for. The characters motivations become muddled and you're not sure what's going on or why. This works for some films, like Caché or The Virgin Suicides, but films like the ones previously mentioned always give the audience enough to peak there interest and make them want to figure out the rest of the film. Simon Killer doesn't ever do this, so most of the film ends up being pretty forgettable.

    But I should give credit where credit is due. First of all Bradley Corbet does a great job as the introverted Simon. He is able to create this character that just doesn't feel right, from the second we see him we can tell that something is just wrong. Antonio Campos also has some excellent camera work, for most of the scenes the camera is set almost completely still, and if there is movement it's typically a slow zoom in/out, or a slow pan to the left or right. The effect is something unnerving, and the cinematography in general is very similar to the cinematography in Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation. i.e. creates a sense of paranoia. Overall I'd say Simon Killer had some good ideas, they just need to be more developed. If you're into slow dark psychological films I'd say it's worth checking out.

    5.5/10
  • After leaving his girlfriend behind in America, recent graduated student Simon (Brady Corbet) travels to France in order to chill out and do nothing, and try to meet other people avoiding being alone the best way he can, usually enjoying female companies. First he meets a prostitute (Mati Diop), of whom they get to know a little better and he starts to help her with some problems; later on he gets the attention of another girl and her friend. With all those connections we get the final image that he's always up to make schemes, taking advantage of everyone he meets and trying to make everything favorable to himself. The problem with this Tom Ripley kind of character is that he is unsympathetic to the audience to the point where you really want to punch him instead of understanding his "pain".

    The movie? Self indulgence at its best. And worst: part of the audience buys it very easily. There's no greater message, no big and interesting portrayal of how sociopaths act and it's not even a good movie. It threats to be but it never quite reaches the limited potential it has. This time director Antonio Campos imitates "Last Tango in Paris" by using minimal dialog, going from nowhere to nowhere, filled of empty and boring sequences in between with characters we can't find anything worth relating or understanding. And just like Bertolucci's classic there's the sex. The way it was portrayed and filmed, well, those were remarkable, I give you that. Really playful and exciting.

    The only thing that impressed me about "Simon Killer" was Brady Corbet, once again involved in a project that proves some provoking challenges for an actor to play with and he's bold enough when the movie is not stranded in its catatonic state. Corbet is in "Mysterious Skin", "Melancholia" and the remake of "Funny Games", so with that list in mind you already know he's up to something really dark or controversial, great materials. Even though writing the story here, and probably creating the best moments for himself (oh yeah those sex scenes and that includes one truly daring moment - best scene, very original but I warn you beforehand that it can be problematic to close minded folks), he's up to no good. This doesn't generate enough interest as a cinematic experience.

    And once again, Mr. Campos employed poor technique methods of cinematography and editing to convey its story the way it must be seen - the voyeuristic look of someone who spies someone at a distance and behind a person's back. It should help the movie but it's artistically dull and empty. The photography was better used in here than it was in "Afterschool", this time providing good looking shots of a Paris a little emptier than usual which reflects the main character's unbearable loneliness. He captured a good atmosphere of the place combined with the character souls - dark and cold but always trying to be colorful, close and animated, danger closer than everyone thinks, and in every corner. But he still doesn't know how to edit a movie, doesn't know how to take advantage of cuts instead of just using static images. Inaudible or whispered dialogs tortures us from time to time. And has this guy never heard of captions? To leave Simon lost without understanding what people are saying to him in this foreign country is acceptable but Mr. Campos leaves us as well in the dark and for long periods every time there's a conversation in French. There's talent in there, the problem is that he doesn't know how to use it rightly. He desperately needs to know how to write a story without creating too much artificial things, make it more human instead of transparent experiences.

    Spare me from saying that it was an enigmatic or philosophical experience. Rubbish. Campos almost fooled me with "Afterschool" (a good film, not great), but he's not fooling me with this. Tedious and shallow but with two or three good things. 5/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    'Simon Killer' is about a young American who goes to Paris following the failure of his relationship with his girlfriend - the very heavy implication being the break-up was his fault. He quickly inveigles his way into the life of a young prostitute, before taking up with a classier girl. Quite how he manages to get so much feminine action is beyond me - grubby, and festooned with the facial scurf so many young men go in for nowadays, he's a sorry-looking article - he gives the impression he doesn't wipe properly, y'know? And that's before you get to his being really intense and creepy. Worth watching once, but I doubt I'll try to see it again.
  • gavin694216 September 2013
    A recent college graduate (Brady Corbet) flees to Paris after a break-up, where his involvement with a prostitute (Mati Diop) begins to reveal a potentially dark recent past.

    Since watching this film last night, it has been gnawing at me, and it keeps growing in my mind as something of a masterpiece. Though, to see it in that way, one must first realize this is not a film concerned with a plot, but rather with the study of one particular character. (Just do not go in thinking you can ever understand him.)

    Corbet was evil and gritty in "Funny Games" and may have stepped that up a notch here. The character is more subtle, more of an enigma, but this in many ways makes him creepier: is he a sociopath, a killer? We know he is a liar, and we are left doubting almost any claim he makes about his past. (Corbet's career is already legendary, also having worked with Gregg Araki and Lars von Trier, among others.)

    While not directly inspired by Joran van der Sloot (the Aruba man best known to Americans as the likely killer of Natalee Holloway), the creators used him as a "point of reference", and it shows. For a visual look they emulated 1970s cinema, and particularly John Cassavetes' "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie" (1976). I think they nailed it.

    To fully "get" this movie I would need to watch it again. As I said, it grows. I like it more today than yesterday and feel like a re-exploration of the themes and characters would only add to that. Who is Simon? We may never know.
  • "Superficial charm and average intelligence. Untruthfulness and insincerity. Poor judgment and failure to learn from experience." All the attributes of a psychopath are handled brilliantly by Antonio Campos and executed flawlessly by Brady Corbet. This film has been on my mind for a few days as I remember the edgy scenes with actors half off the screen and my wishing I could just nudge the camera a little bit to see what's going on... although it would not have mattered. The story here is powerful and tells a tale of a manipulative and mentally unbalanced character, but that's not really why I liked the film so much. What blew my mind is the visual treatment, the blasts of audio, the unforgiving sex and the feeling I was looking at an accident I could not turn away from. Lots of similarity to the films of Haneke and Dumont but taken to the next level with an uncompromising cellphone video sensitivity.
  • billcr122 November 2013
    Simon is a recent college graduate who has recently broken up with a long term girlfriend. He wanders the streets of Paris, brooding over his former partner, Michelle. Along the way, he meets a prostitute, first as a client, and later as a roommate. He comes up with an idea for her to make easy money through blackmail. The problem is that the movie meanders with bad direction and no real conclusion. Simon is a man with no emotion, and, in the end I did not care about him at all, or any other character he encounters on his meaningless travels. I could not wait for film to end, and there is no reason at all to sit through Simon Killer.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Walking in to the theater I had no preconception of what this film was about. Other than that it was set in Paris. And boy did it surprise me. From the get-go you could tell that it would be an exciting audiovisual ride. And I'd say it held onto that feeling through out the entire film.

    The initial picture of a desperate young man had me fooled that it was going to be a dreary sob story. Slowly, but surely it dawned on me how incredibly well both Campos, in his directing, and Corbet, in his acting, had done once I realized I could sense the awkwardness as he pushed himself into Noura's life. At this point, I was sold.

    The story is a very compelling one, in its own, bizarre way, that the longer it progressed I could scarcely take my eyes off the screen. And as far as trying to fit this masterpiece into a definitive box? I feel like this is one of those movies that just doesn't fit perfectly into any category. The film lends from a wide array of genres, ranging from thrillers to drama and from horror to artsy soft-core and beyond.

    I'd sincerely recommend giving this film a view if you're interested in top of the line acting, directing and cinematography, spiced with a hint of atypical story telling. Especially if you are ready to either enjoy or put aside the explicit content, which at times can be a little disturbing, to put it mildly.
  • Remarkably well constructed film, subtle yet powerful.

    Interesting character study of a nauseating sociopath, immersed in his delusional narcissistic fantasies. A well made film, but disturbingly realistic in this portrait of a thoroughly unpleasant character. People like this do exist, of that one can be certain, which is what makes this production more than a bit disturbing.

    This is a psychological thriller of sorts . . . no action scenes, just a bit of violence and sex (which is integral to the story). If you're looking for a simplistic, by the numbers action film, this isn't it, it will be too "slow" for you.

    On the other hand, if a detailed character study with an unusual set of circumstances from which an engaging story emerges, you might find this well worth the time to watch it.
  • Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy. Thankfully, was able to catch this in the Institute of Contemporary Arts here in London. I was expecting to be disappointed because I had such high hopes after AFTERSCHOOL and was ready to agree with my friends that this would be wanky, but they actually really dug it. Even with all the nudity and visually arresting red-and-blue strobe transitions. Maybe I just have more open-minded friends who just trust my taste in movies, but they really took something out of it and we discussed quite a lot on the way back which was mostly about Simon's psyche.

    Simon is a fascinating character. Brady Corbet really commits to an incredibly personal and unsettling persona.

    Disturbing, confusing, creepy, trippy holiday from hell. Yes, it's about an American who's just broken up and goes to France to hook up with a prostitute but it's done in the most arty, otherworldly style. It's just so primal from the cinematography (lots of behind person camera tracking shots) down to the score of drones and drums getting you right into the head of Simon. GOOD LORD THE SOUNDTRACK! "It Takes A Muscle To Fall In Love", LCD Soundsystem. I think this one has SPRING BREAKERS beat for this year in terms of foreboding score and licensed synth-pop tracks. But just as you're about to get comfortable, the music is abruptly stopped which fits Simon's character.

    The way the camera operates in this very voyeuristic, CCTV robot-like manner (just like in AFTERSCHOOL). It'll have the camera focus on a table with a girl laying down the groceries (bananas and bags of cocaine), then to her movements, characters talking, and eventually resulting in a long shot where you're just been immersed into everything rather than just the dialogue.

    It just makes for a very claustrophobic experience, and you can't wait to breath for the next day to come.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Recently heartbroken, Simon (Brady Corbet) 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). The chemistry builds between the two until they find themselves in a serious relationship, one that leads to blackmail and betrayal through Simon's penchant for other girls and the ultimate revelation of Simon's true nature.

    Simon is an American white boy in Paris. A compelling character study of a man who might or might not be a sociopath since sociopaths have minimal need for other humans or attachments, but definitely has a major personality disorder and he likes to have control over women, but not in the traditional way. He starts by making them sympathize with him and then takes over their lives which is even worse than it sounds. The acting by the lead actor, Brady is fantastic. You can sense that there's something wrong with this guy from the beginning even if you don't know the name of the movie. His relationship with Noura/Victoria is deliberately weird without any underlying chemistry between them. In fact, both the actors (both leads are the writers as well) are very emotive and also free with their bodies.

    The score is intense, the camera-work is voyeuristic, claustrophobic and acts like a peripheral vision effect throughout. Then there's the periodic throbbing strobes of blue and red light through transitions which drains you out, all of which are meant to showcase Simon's view of the world. This is almost an art movie. The ending with Noura still alive and Simon walking away thinking he had killed her was really inspired. What makes the movie though is the fact that Simon could be any regular guy you meet on the street, which makes you feel very uneasy for the safety of the people you know. A realistic take on a disorder very close to sociopathy and a good movie, but not really recommended for everyone.

    7/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I read the reviews about the film and they stimulated my interest in seeing this flick at Pifan 2013 in Bucheon, South Korea. The movie seemed to go in several directions, but yes, I found the film a bit hard to like, especially the ending.

    Simon is a recent college grad who visits Paris after breaking up with a longtime girlfriend. He befriends Victoria, who works as a prostitute, and soon moves in with her despite planning to hit other places in Europe. He tries to scam her other customers and trouble starts brewing.

    I found that Simon wasn't a likable guy at all. He had a couldn't-care- less attitude like the character Zach Galifianakis played in "The Hangover." I also found implausible Victoria immediately liking Simon and letting him into her troubled life, and he ends up making things more complicated for her. He seems to really show what a true a-hole he is toward the end.

    I'm glad I watched it but would I recommend it? Not sure.
  • marko-amnell13 September 2013
    Warning: Spoilers
    This is an interesting film directed by Antonio Campos about a young man from New York who has apparently just finished a degree in neuroscience (he turns out to be a liar, so this may not be true, and in the film's last line he says to a customs official that he studies French literature), and is spending a few weeks in Paris living in the apartment of a family friend. What starts out as a story about an American student in Paris about to start his tour around Europe gradually turns into something darker as Simon, the eponymous character, meets an attractive French prostitute in a hostess bar. Simon cunningly inveigles himself into her life and soon moves into her apartment. We are not yet sure whether Simon is just a slippery character or a full-blown grifter, but at this point the plot reminded me of Jim Thompson's novels so I was gratified to learn from one interview with Campos that Thompson was indeed one of the inspirations for the film. Simon then persuades Noura (the prostitute he met at the hostess bar) to blackmail her customers with his help. So far, this is a fairly common film noir plot, but this unusual movie has much more to offer. Brady Corbet's acting as Simon is very good, Antonio Campos employs interesting visual techniques and other innovative elements, and the movie has an outstanding soundtrack. Corbet does a good job of keeping us guessing about just who, and how sinister a character, Simon really is. Is he just a bright student who opportunistically turns to blackmail to finance his holiday in Paris, or is he a professional con man who is potentially violent and dangerous? The dark and sexual themes, stalking camera (hostile strangers lurk just around the corner in Pigalle or accost Simon as he tries to pick up Parisian girls on the street), and memorable pop music score, reminded me of Blue Velvet, and it had me wondering if Simon is closer to Jeffrey Beaumont or to Frank Booth. As the suspense builds and things become ever darker, I also began to compare the film to The Comfort of Strangers, another tale of sexual attraction, perversion, deception and violence on a holiday in a picturesque European city (a film that brought together Paul Schrader, Ian McEwan, Harold Pinter and Christopher Walken... what a team!) But I digress. Antonio Campos does some really interesting things visually in this film. For example, there are strange light effects both at the very beginning of the movie and again to separate different parts of the story, like section breaks (these are accompanied by haunting songs with lyrics such as "It takes a muscle to fall in love"). I was intrigued by these light effects and Campos explains in one interview that he tried to recreate the lights you see as you press against your closed eyes with your fingers. Campos created these effects by removing the lens from a certain type of camera and filming Christmas lights which thus left only the imprint of their colours. These light effects are particularly appropriate in the film as Simon's thesis work (if he wasn't lying) involved the connection between the brain and the eye. Other interesting aspects of the movie include the bilingual script and way language is used. Simon often pretends not to understand when another character says something in French, and uses this to his advantage in his deceptions and tricks. Simon also often communicates non-verbally by an odd assortment of grunts, whimpers and yelps. Campos says that Brady Corbet actually worked out a whole system for these sounds, one for "angry Simon," another for "sad Simon," another for "anxious Simon" and so on. If you like Jim Thompson, Blue Velvet and The Comfort of Strangers, Simon Killer just might be your cup of tea.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Everything in this movie seemed so heavy handed. The slow start didn't feel rewarding then by the time things were happening the main character was so short sighted and narcissistic that is was just frustrating. Character studies are one thing but he was so one note that there was no character to study. There were some good scenes between him and the female lead but there relationship changes did not justify a 1.5 hour movie around it. The character was a douche but not enough that it made for an interesting movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was very impressed at the intelligence and subtlety of the direction and the protagonist's portrayal in this film. I very quickly felt queasy and uncomfortable in the right way with the story - one needs to recognize that this is a larger canvas, a deeper psychological layout and one needs to wait, step back to see the bigger picture. Very well put together indeed, and hinges well on the authenticity of the performances.

    Recently graduated from college, ordinary American male, Simon is in France for reasons which are unclear, after a serious breakup which is unresolved for him. He appears ambivalent about his expectations for the place but possesses yearning for connection. The film follows his initially aimless wandering through overcast Paris but over the course of the film his behavior evinces troubling questions, creating a picture of complex and disquieting psychology.

    I have to agree with the sentiments expressed by a few other IMDb reviewers - there is a problem which is troublesome for films of this nature. Who wants to spend so much "subtle" time with such an flavorless, watery and increasingly unpleasant person? It should be recognized that these qualities are exactly what the filmmakers are aiming at. Some personality types are parasites which require a host to feel content. However, that may be a flaw, in my opinion.

    A realistic portrayal of everyday psychopathy can be presented from a revelatory and entertaining viewpoint casting new light into a previously hidden part of life. When it's presented in the dour, and faintly bland & vague way it's done here, it just feels like you're watching yourself, friends, family or co-workers in a way that feels less like an 'escape to the movies' and more like work. Good films make that work invisible or enjoyable. This film has very few pleasures to deliver. That too, is the perhaps filmmaker's point.

    I may be over simplifying my point or not making a good one, but it certainly is a problem that many artistic statements have to contend with - don't make your audience regret the time they spend with your story. If your protagonist has a troubled mind, the audience has to occasionally relate to him/her. Make that experience MORE engaging than one's own life, not less. Again, that may have been the filmmaker's point.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    To be quite honest, I am not sure how I discovered this movie exactly. I was just searching about and found this despite not knowing a single actor, or anyone involved. Still, the trailer made it seem very interesting so I decided to give it a chance.

    The focus of the movie is one Simon (played by Brady Corbet) who just lost his girlfriend of 5 years, graduated college with a degree in neuroscience, and seemingly is having trouble letting go. However, with the help of a young prostitute Noura (played by Mati Diop) who fits Hollywood's vision of a Julia Robert's Pretty Woman styled sex worker with good lucks and a heart of gold, and a young college student named Marianne (played by Constance Rousseau) who is as sweet as Noura, but without the emotional baggage and sex worker profession, you foresee a turnaround for this heartbroken boy. But then you discover, slowly but surely, why after 5 years his girlfriend from High School decided to call it quits.

    The way the story is setup, for the first 40 minutes we are shown a Simon which is a pitiful young man who makes you slightly uneasy, but with how heartbroken he is you want to give him a chance as a lead. But, once those first 40, or so, minutes are over and we meet Noura, under the name Victoria originally, things pick up. From there Simon finds a way, conveniently, to get nestled into Noura's naive little heart. Then comes in Marianne and with her introduction, we see Simon for what he really is: the type of character which reminds you why women must be careful of the men they interact with.

    In a way though, there lies the appeal of the movie. For most of the movie you are presented a superficial version of Simon that would be no different from a guy you met in class or know at work. You see him sobbing and pitiful to the point you can almost see him as the victim, but as you get to know him you see this isn't fully true. Also, something I liked about this movie, was the character of Noura. Now, Noura isn't drawn much differently from most women who are sex workers since she has a troubled past and does sex work for independence, but what is likable about it is she doesn't feel like a victim. She frankly calls what she does work, just like you would call going to an office and being on a computer 7 or so hours a day work. It sort of put a rarely seen spin on sex workers for often they focus so much on their past issues that it seems you could blame an abusive ex or parent for everything as if perhaps they forced them to get into their profession. With Noura though, it seemed she chose it for she has worked doing other things, but perhaps it didn't pay enough to be independent.

    But, as much as I like certain elements of the film, it does have one major pitfall and a few others sprinkled in. Focusing on the minor ones first, there is an issue, to me, in the movie when they decide to let a scene go on too long. For example, there is one shot of just a guy's face as Simon is in the process of blackmailing him, and we focus on him thinking in silence for 3-4 minutes. Also, there is a dance scene where Marianne and Simon are dancing, and you wonder why is it there, much less, why so long? Before that scene, they already establish something is going on between them, so why are we watching them dance for 5 minutes with their dialog muted and only the music being heard? The biggest pitfall of the film, by far, are those first 40 minutes. Watching Simon mope around Paris, seem socially maladjusted, and talk about, or to, Michelle really makes you want to stop watching the movie for it just drags on too long. And even when it thankfully decides that it needs to show us more than him moping and masturbating, they switch it with what could have been a compelling story, which just sort of turns into decently written soft-core porn.

    Overall: On the Fence (Leaning Toward Skip It)

    While the film has elements I usually appreciate in a movie like romantic drama, violence and character evolution, though not necessarily all in one movie, this comes at the price of spending 40 minutes waiting for that all to happen. Then, once it does, it seems like it only does so because it realizes it needs a story and it feels like it was written so no one could really outshine Corbet, who is one of the writers for this film. With that, the characters of Noura and Marianne feel like they get stunted while Corbet continues to try to dominate the film. Making it so, overall, you feel like with some editing it could be good but, as is, the film is just a mess.
  • The problem with this movie is that the lead character is so flawed yet manages to dominate this movie in such a was as to make the movie flatline into what is ultimately suicide for the movie as a whole.

    The fault is that Simon is so utterly fallacious as to be unbelievable! He is weak, dull, pathetic, immature, soulless, sexually inadequate, aggressive, violent, cowardly, fragile, disinterested in the world around him and without any kind of direction whatsoever. There is nothing redeeming at all in this character. As the movie progresses we begin to dislike him more and more, yet we are supposed to believe that a woman is capable of falling in love with this man. Unfortunately this leads to what ultimately is a very boring and lack lustre film. The problem also is that the movie paints Paris as city of sad, lonely, desperate people used and abused as the make their way through city streets, backlit by prostitutes, and violence, and when, we superimpose this fragile character on this mis-en-scene we are left with nothing more than a dull voyage into senility.

    Many low budget movies achieve so very much more and with a decent script, characters and direction this movie could have been something really special. Somehow as a USA / French production it just doesn't work, and this is reflected in the lack of any kind of meaningful communication between the lead roles in the movie.

    This said, I recommend you watch it because it is a good example of how a movie will never work if the camera hates what it sees. When an idea such as this is done brilliantly we end up with a film like "Alfie", (original version) in which yes, we see a deeply flawed character, dominating the movie, yet the camera loves him and so do we.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I recently saw this movie, after eagerly anticipating it for a good long while. Overall I found it so-so; whilst ranging from good to brilliant in most every technical aspect, a singificant detractor was the character of Simon. Simply put, I don't believe he is what he's described to be. The synopsis, pre-release interviews and reviews talk of a sociopath (which I appreciate is now an antiquated DSM term, but it's the one they employ so I will employ it too), but it's clear the term has been either misinterpreted or misused.

    The film's eponymous 'killer' definitely has some sort of borderline or antisocial/dissocial personality disorder - his pathological lying and manipulating with no regard for others demonstrate this with crystal clarity - but to my knowledge, true sociopathy does not appear to be it. His obvious distress and pained, emotional reactions at two certain points (the part where he's discussing his ex with his mother via skype; and when he breaks down, crying for his mother, after leaving his fox pin on the left-for-dead Victoria/Noura) strike me as simply too human for a sociopath.

    It's the very presence of such distress in itself that nullifies the term 'sociopath'. Longing for others, for comfort from and attachment to others, is something absent in sociopaths. Whilst they do feel certain emotions on a superficial level, and certainly can be given to acute displays of anger and aggression, sadness and need for others just does not feature. They are more than adept, however at feigning such emotions in order to manipulate others (just as Simon does), but they do not genuinely, deeply feel them, therefore would have no reason to exhibit them when alone in their most honest moments.

    The term 'sociopath' has been wielded quite loosely in fiction for ages, but I would have thought intelligent writer-directors such as Antonio Campos, and actor-writers such as Brady Corbet, would be more circumspect. Hats off to them, they wrote and pulled off an interesting character who inspires the very repugnance he's designed to - that much is mission accomplished - but I do not believe he's a sociopath. And if they had simply described him simply as amoral or morally questionable, that would have sufficed; but as such, 'sociopath' is not and cannot be used as shorthand.

    In conclusion, the film is definitely worth a watch, for the top notch performances and 'killer' soundtrack (pun not intended); but if you're looking for a character study of a sociopath, watch René Clémant's 'Purple Noon (Plein Soleil)' instead. In 'Simon Killer', the eponymous character exhibits certain sociopathic traits, and evidently falls somewhere in the spectrum of borderline or antisocial/dissocial personality disorders, but I would dispute whether he is a true sociopath; and as the film rests on the veracity of Simon as one, this is where it fails for me.
  • This film was a real inspiration to me when starting out as a filmmaker - it's compelling & dark & intriguing and shows that it's a good story that makes a great film!
  • andrewchristianjr7 February 2021
    The attempt at a slow haunting buildup didn't work out. It is a deeply disturbing, effective, creepy and entertaining journey into the life of a brooding sociopath. Perhaps too graphic and dark for all tastes, but this is a good film.
  • strike-199527 August 2019
    An extremely strenuous watch made all the more difficult in our current world.
  • ferdmalenfant30 September 2019
    I very much enjoyed this movie. It was a bit slow to get off the ground but totally worth the wait. Simon is just a cute young american ...MONSTER? You decide.
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