In the indie noir thriller, Simon Killer, rising director Antonio Campos shows us that darkness can survive and grow even in the City of Lights. Hopefully, in his next effort will be able to show us the depth of its roots.
Given the buzz for Campos' debut film Afterschool (which was nominated for a Independent Spirit Award in 2008), the anticipatory talk was high for this follow-up feature which mixes American actor Brady Corbet (Mysterious Skin) with a French cast, including actresses Mati Diop (who shares credit as one of the film's screenwriters) and Lila Salet. Already know for his visual pallet and ability draw viewers into his cinematic vision, Campos caused a notable buzz at Sundance with Simon Killer ahead of its select Us release (April 12th in Los Angeles, April 26 in San Francisco, May 5, Seattle.)
- Jason Stewart
Filmmaker Antonio Campos (Afterschool) directs one of the most intriguing films of the year with the independent drama, Simon Killer. Brady Corbet, who co-wrote the film with Campos, stars as an American who travels to Paris to try and recover from a break-up. There, he hooks up with a prostitute (Mati Diop) and begins a twisted relationship that ultimately spirals out of control.
In our exclusive interview with writer/director Antonio Campos and writer/actor Brady Corbet (Martha Marcy May Marlene), the Simon Killer creative team discussed their collaborative process and the freedom of working off an outline that allowed for improvisation.
How difficult was it to put this story together and not have the audience automatically judge this guy 10 minutes into the movie?
Antonio Campos: "It was tricky in some ways. We thought all about that. We made sure that when »
Tonight on Movie News After Dark, Community is dead, the documentary is better, AMC is making sci-fi shows now and filmmakers are having their films taken away for no good reason. Everything is a mess, but we’ll sort it out together. How NBC’s Community Died – Over at Pajiba, Steven Lloyd Wilson writes passionately about finally cutting the cord with fan favorite Community. Personally, I’ve been avoiding this latest season of the once-beloved show. I don’t like watching friends die. How Documentary Became the Most Exciting Kind of Filmmaking – David Edelstein takes to Vulture to explain why documentaries are better than fictional films, at least from a filmmaking point of few. A few salient points, but don’t expect me to jump ship and go all-doc anytime soon. Not when there is a new Star Trek movie coming out. Ending with The Rapture – Exiting his post as Av Club Film Editor, Scott Tobias »
- Neil Miller
Reviewed by Jesse Miller, MoreHorror.com
Meet Simon (Brady Corbet), a lonely 20-something dude who has just arrived in Paris for the week to nurse a broken heart, search for himself and maybe even reconnect with someone new.
However, there is something else behind those eyes of Simon, something dark, twisted and sinister that ever so slowly reveals itself over the course of the film as we follow him around.
Simon Killer is Writer/Director Antonio Campos’s second feature film and it is indeed a dark, twisted and sinister film, one that very slowly builds tension from the opening shot onwards and makes for some very uncomfortable viewing.
The plot of the film is sparse and information slowly drips out over the course of the 100 minute running time, making Simon Killer a long, low-key and hard slog that challenges the audience into watching Simon and trying to understand or »
Studio bosses are left wondering what went right as the science-fiction story brings home a surprise result
Reviews were mixed, and the early April release date suggested a movie falling short of the blockbuster premier league, but there was nothing puny about the opening-weekend box office for Oblivion: £3.36m, plus Wednesday/Thursday previews totaling £1.60m. The five-day £4.96m debut compares with £2.79m for GI Joe: Retaliation from a couple of weeks ago, and a previews-inflated £3.58m opening for star Tom Cruise's previous effort Jack Reacher in late December. Oblivion director Joseph Kosinski's earlier Tron: Legacy debuted with £1.97m back in 2010. Cruise also has a strong track record in the sci-fi genre. War of the Worlds debuted in July 2005 with £8.64m, and Minority Report in July 2002 with £4.51m.
Studios always review results for all their releases, and now Universal is in the happy position of wondering what went right with Oblivion. »
- Charles Gant
Henry Barnes, Peter Bradshaw and Catherine Shoard review this week's big cinema releases. This week they follow Ryan Gosling through Derek Cianfrance's generation-hopping crime drama The Place Beyond The Pines; shoot for the moon with Tom Cruise in sci-fi adventure Oblivion; listen to the former heads of Israel's internal security agency reveal almost all in The Gatekeepers; and traipse around Paris with a disturbed young American in indie thriller Simon Killer.
• This is the audio-only version of the Guardian's weekly film video review show
Henry BarnesCatherine ShoardPeter BradshawThibaut Remy »
- Henry Barnes, Catherine Shoard, Peter Bradshaw, Thibaut Remy
From filmmaker Antonio Campos (Afterschool), the indie drama Simon Killer is an unsettling psychological portrait of a well-educated, handsome young man named Simon (Brady Corbet) who travels to Paris to get over a recent break-up. He soon finds himself drawn into a sex parlor where he has a sexual encounter with an exotic prostitute named Victoria (Mati Diop) that continues to spiral out of control. During this recent exclusive interview with Collider, actor Brady Corbet and writer/director Antonio Campos talked about how this film came about, what they wanted to explore in the story they were telling, their collaboration on the portrayal of Simon, and the intention behind making the sex scenes so uncomfortable. Corbet also talked about treating his acting career as a master class, now that he’s trying his own hand at directing. Check out what they had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers. »
- Christina Radish
(Please Note: The following interview mentions plot developments in "Simon Killer" that may be considered spoilers.) As 'American in Paris' movies go, “Simon Killer” is one of the less romantic you're ever likely to see. Formally immaculate and profoundly unnerving, Antonio Campos's second feature – following 2008's equally striking and eerie “Afterschool” – sent shockwaves through the Sundance Film Festival last year: with the film finally on limited release and available on VOD, audiences can make their minds up about a film that's still proving excitingly divisive. A subtly brutal character study of a bright, good-looking American graduate who unravels psychologically »
- Guy Lodge
Discussion about the title of a film is not something that generally finds its way into a film review, and with good reason. The title of a film is usually somewhat extraneous to the actual experience of watching the feature and its importance lies outside of the film itself. Much like the marketing that surrounds any production, the title is part of what gets many people into the cinema and sat in front of the screen. The title Simon Killer is a different beast though, and it may be the most distracting title of a film that I have seen in some time. Settling down in front of this film it is impossible to shake the implications that the name suggests and this can ultimately lead to a sense of frustration and anxiety, and whether this is a negative or positive aspect is, however, certainly debatable.
As the titular character of Simon, »
- Craig Skinner
Imagine if I ended this review mid-sentence. Imagine if, prior to this, I scattered sentences in French throughout without providing any translation. Imagine if I was forced to repeat myself to make you experience this the way it was intended.
Would you make allowances because the rest of the review was interesting enough (*cough*), or would you find these qualities so annoying as to render the whole experience a disaster? Here’s the rub: Simon Killer, while far from greatness, is an accomplished and at times strangely hypnotic piece, but it was partially ruined for me by my viewing experience. This matters, because in place of plot and action it promotes characterisation and mood as defining features – judging it objectively is thus truly tricky.
That opening sequence serves as a metaphor for Simon more broadly, as the breezy backpacker he wants to be is gradually ripped apart by his inner »
Gary Oldman on why his character Bex from the 1989 movie The Firm says everything about the Thatcher years
Maggie at the movies
There isn't a section of society or the media that hasn't reflected on what Margaret Thatcher meant. Film, football, sport, cookery – they've all weighed in with their Thatcher memories when, it seems to me, all we're really doing is basically remembering the 1980s. The nation has become a nostalgia radio station, like a giant Capital Gold, over the past week. Still, I'm not going to let that stop Trash going off on one. Maggie, we know, cared little for the arts — why should she, when every play, film or standup comedian was basically slagging her off? Hate figure she may have been, but it didn't half make for a lively antagonism for writers and directors. Don't we miss having such a big target these days? The only equivalent »
- Jason Solomons
Director Antonio Campos burst onto the scene in 2008 with his critically-acclaimed debut Afterschool. After producing his Borderline Films partner Sean Durkin's debut Martha Marcy May Marlene, the filmmaker is back with his second feature Simon Killer, which is currently playing in theaters and available on VOD formats. Brady Corbet stars as the title character, a recent college graduate who heads to Paris and becomes enamored with a prostitute (Mati Diop), a relationship that heads down a dark path very quickly. I recently had the chance to speak with both Antonio Campos and Brady Corbet over the phone about this new indie drama. Here's what they had to say.
I read that you secured financing in an unusual way. You were seeking more funding for Martha Marcy May Marlene, and this became funded as well. That's »
Fans might be disappointed to hear it, but this has bigger ambitions than just drooling over Ryan Gosling. His criminal stunt-biker is merely one part of a weighty cross-generational triptych: a study of fathers, sons, sins and justice that seeks a place beyond standard storytelling structure, even if there's not quite enough meat on the bones, especially of the Gosling variety.
Cruise is in his familiar anchorman role for this big-budget sci-fi, set on a devastated future Earth where all is not what it seems with his drone repairman's job. It's potentially a Philip K Dick-style thriller, though the lack of advance screenings is a danger sign. »
- Steve Rose
How do you distinguish between a lost young man and a budding sociopath? If you were dating the latter, would you know? Just how clearly can anyone see a descent into madness? These are just a few of the questions raised by the chilling and extremely divisive noir Simon Killer (released by IFC last week), about a seemingly sane young man, played by Brady Corbet, who heads to Paris after a breakup and gets involved with a young prostitute (Mati Diop). The film debuted to cheers and walkouts at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012 and, like director Antonio Campos’s first film, 2008’s Afterschool, has sparked enough hostile comments in subsequent Q&As to be deemed “controversial.” But it also has plenty of vocal adherents, including Jeannette Catsoulis of the New York Times. Jada Yuan spoke to Corbet (and Campos, who was sitting nearby and chimed in occasionally) about graphic »
- Jada Yuan
There's an implied contract between artist and audience, whereby the creatives can take us to the deepest, darkest places of bad behavior and personal misery so long as they have something to say about the human condition, or the society that creates such miscreants, or any number of other notions that can be explored this way. In return, viewers expect something at the end besides, "Boy! This guy's really awful, isn't he?" It's that lack of a payoff after a long slog that makes "Simon Killer" a disappointing follow-up to director »
- Alonso Duralde
Director: Antonio Campos.
Running time: 101 minutes.
Synopsis: Simon (Brady Corbet) escapes to Paris after a bad breakup, only to fall into another altogether different relationship with a prostitute. Hatching a plan to blackmail her clients, Simon starts to lose control as the pair become increasingly distant.
You may not know his name, but you may recognise Antonio Campos’ work. His Independent Spirit Award-winning feature debut, Afterschool, launched him onto Variety’s ‘Ten Directors To Watch’ list, and he has since produced the much celebrated Martha Marcy May Marlene. After meeting Brady Corbet on Sean Durkin’s 2011 film, the two started work on the rather awkward and uncomfortable Simon Killer.
After several post-breakup days of meaningless strolling through the streets of Paris, young graduate Simon is tempted by a sex bar where he meets pretty prostitute, Victoria (Mati Diop). After exchanging numbers, »
- Jazmine Sky Bradley
An artfully shot, po-faced thriller about an American graduate student going to pieces on an extended break in Paris. Brady Corbet is excellent as thoroughly unlikable Simon, adrift in Paris's backstreet brothels, who strikes up a relationship with a sweet-natured prostitute (Mati Diop) that becomes in turn dependent and abusive. Producer Sean Durkin is part of the brain trust behind the critical hit Martha Marcy May Marlene, and Simon Killer shares that film's high points and pitfalls. It's just as beautiful and spooky, but it's also a bit dank, too studiously serious to maintain its thrills. The story, co-written by director Antonio Campos and his stars, meanders. Simon's gap year drops him into a chasm, but it's well before then, somewhere in the tangle of gloomy sex scenes and twisty subplots, »
- Henry Barnes
UK box office top ten and analysis for the weekend of Friday 5th to Sunday 7th April 2013...
With little in the way of new competition, DreamWorks' CG-animated family adventure The Croods held on to top spot at the UK box office, pulling in £2.36 million to make it three weeks in a row. Second place was also unchanged, despite the fact that G.I. Joe: Retaliation suffered a steep drop, banking £1.06 million after a decent £2.76 million opening last weekend, while the biggest new release of the week Dark Skies was the only other film in the chart to break seven figures, with a £1,031,948 debut enough to claim third.
Moving on and Danny Boyle's Trance and Bryan Singer's Jack the Giant Slayer both fell one spot apiece to fourth and fifth, while Sam Raimi's fantasy adventure Oz the Great and Powerful was another non-mover in sixth. Stephenie Meyer adaptation The Host »
- Flickering Myth
★★★★☆ Simon Killer (2012), the second film from Antonio Campos (Afterschool), is a bracing, darkly comic glare into the abyss. Beneath its stylish veneer is pure grit; a tangle of depravity and violence skilfully manipulated by Campos into something mysterious and disorientating. Co-produced by Martha Marcy May Marlene's Sean Durkin, it shares that film's simmering discord. Pitching their projects at the blurred boundaries of teenage alienation and madness, a picture is beginning to emerge of Borderline Films, Durkin and Campos' production company, as the chief purveyors of a very modern, fractured vision of youthful malaise.
Read more » »
- CineVue UK
Check out what's new to rent and own this week on the various streaming services such as cable On Demand, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, and, of course, Netflix. Cable On Demand: Same-day-as-disc releases, older titles and pre-theatrical exclusives for rent, priced from $3-$10, in 24- or 48-hour periods Hyde Park on Hudson (historical drama about Fdr; Bill Murray, Laura Linney; rated R) To the Wonder (Terrence Malick's romantic drama; Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams; premieres 4/12 the same day as in theaters; rated R) Antiviral (Brandon Cronenberg horror film; Caleb Landry Jones, Sarah Gadon; premieres 4/12 the same day as in theaters; not rated) Simon Killer (thriller; Brady Corbet, Mati Diop; premieres 4/12 and is also in limited...
- Robert B. DeSalvo
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