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A famous filmmaker works on his next film, which will focus on monstrosity. He is obsessed by the idea of finding a painting that will be central to the film and will crystallize all the power and beauty of monsters.
Mathieu Kassovitz developed this movie from his third short film, Assassins... (1992), which also told the story of a youth who gets a lesson in murder by a professional assassin. However, the title of the two-hour version was changed to "Assassin(s)" because of the Richard Donner film Assassins (1995) that came out between the two. See more »
After the end credits there's a brief coda showing Mr. Wagner and Mehdi arguing while sitting on a park bench. See more »
A visually impressive film that ends up as an orgy of violence
This is a film that plays on Mathieu Kassovitz's strengths as both an actor and a director. As an actor, he is well-suited to play the half-hearted, rather feckless criminal, a tragic-comic role that Kassovitz seems to excel in. In the director's seat, Kassovitz creates a film that is energetic, vibrant, dramatic, and visually very impressive. The three lead characters are well-used, with some fine performances, particularly from veteran actor Michael Serrault who acts out the paradoxes of his day job as a professional killer with great conviction and sincerity.
Where the film falls down is in the plot structure and the unnecessary overuse of violence. The film begins well enough, with Wagner recruiting Max and training him to take over his job. Then, about two-thirds of the way through, the film abruptly changes direction and seems to go off on some kind of crusade to educate the world about the dangers of video games on impressionable young boys. At that point, the film loses its momentum and the violence which ensues appears senseless and gratuitous.
There are some similarities of style with Kassovitz's earlier film, La Haine. However, whereas that film seemed to have a fairly clear statement to make, Assassin(s) does not and appears ambiguous and confused. As a result, what could easily have been a very powerful and successful film will probably be remembered as a rather confused film revelling in violence - not unlike the computer games that it seems to revile.
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