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The Independent Critic

Brady Corbet, Mati Diop, Lila Salet, Michael Abiteboul, Solo, Constance Rousseau
Antonio Campos
105 Mins.
Eureka Entertainment (UK)
Director approved Blu-Ray and DVD Editions; 1080p Blu-ray Presentation; Behind-the-scenes and rehearsal footage; Sundance alumni interview with Antonio Campos and producers Sean Durkin and Josh Mond; "The Lost 15" - Campo's Palme d'Or nominated short film; 29-minute interview w/Campos on the aesthetics of the film; Interview w/Campos, Brady Corbet, and their mothers; Original theatrical trailer; Optional English Subtitles; Booklet featuring new and exclusive essay by critic Karina Longworth; New interview with Campos; a visual primer on poster art development, and more. 


 "Simon Killer" Arriving on "Masters of Cinema"  

My opinion of Brady Corbet as one of the most criminally underrated of America's young actors is further reinforced by his magnificently disturbing performance in Antonio Campos' 2012 cinematic wonder Simon Killer, a deeply jarring character study of a handsome and sociopathic American in Paris that rewards the Independent Spirit Awards for their wisdom in awarding Campos their 2009 prize for Best First Feature for Afterschool. 

Corbet plays Simon, a recent college graduate filled with seemingly endless promise and potential who goes to Paris to begin a trip around Europe after a rather devastating break-up with his longtime girlfriend. With an aura that feels like a creepy mixture of Haneke's Funny Games and the real life Joran Van der Sloot, Brady Corbet's Simon oozes ample doses of charisma and creepiness in portraying this young man who seems an awful lot like the kind of guy who would slip his girl a date rape drug while saying "I love you" while meaning both. 

Simon Killer was truly destined to be less embraced than Afterschool, mostly owing to Campos' unsettling consistency of tone and Corbet's downright refusal to turn Simon into a mildly sympathetic character. Simon's charisma is well founded, but it's not a sympathetic charisma as much as it's the kind of charisma borne out of a hard-earned survival of the fittest. As Simon becomes increasingly unable to sweep the memories of his ex away, he begins to partake of revealing Skype sessions with his mother and even more revealing sexcams. When his attempts to finally reach out to his ex fail, he ventures into a Parisian strip joint and encounters Victoria (Mati Diop), who not so unexpectedly takes a liking to him despite (or because of?) his obviously dementedly eerie qualities. She lowers her prices for him, while he eventually convinces her take full-on advantage of her situation in exploiting those around her. Eventually, things spiral into a darker and darker space. 

In addition to his work on Afterschool, Campos produced Sean Durkin's Oscar-nominated debut Martha Marcy May Marlene. In return, Durkin serves as a producer on this film. The two, along with Josh Mond, are co-founders of Borderline Films and you can easily see the thematic thread that weaves them all together. 

Easily one of the most visually appealing of 2012's films, Simon Killer is most disturbing because of Campos' willingness to explore a casual brutality not far removed from one of Corbet's other masterful performances in Gregg Araki's Mysterious Skin, the film that pretty much pushed Joseph Gordon-Levitt to the forefront of Hollywood. Simon Killer has the vulnerable courage to explore the intimacies of alienation without explaining it all away, while also relentlessly looking at how desperation can drive us into the most profane places within our heart and mind. The film features an original score that is pulsating and hypnotic, while D.P. Joe Anderson lenses the film in a claustrophobic way that will leave you gasping for air at times. 

Simon Killer is being released in a killer package by U.K.'s Eureka Entertainment as part of the distributor's awe-inspiring Masters of Cinema Collection. With an extensive collection of extras and remarkable packaging all the way through, the Simon Killer Masters of Cinema Collection is truly the absolute best way to catch the film in all its glory. 

© Written by Richard Propes 
The Independent Critic