Reviewed by: JimmyO
What's it about
When a successful businessman finds that someone has hired a hitman to kill him, he desperately tries to make a deal with his would be killer. Once the two begin to bond, it seems that the assassin may be finding some sympathy deep within himself... or is there something else going on?
Is it good movie?
It is very refreshing to see a film as quietly poetic as Le Tueur. Early on, there is a simple shot of two men. One is watching from the street below, as the other notices from a window above. It is the simplicity and the downright artistic quality of this profound little film that pulls you in. It is also the underlying dread which is so subtle but it still manages to keep the momentum in Cedric Anger‘s feature film. When I began watching it, I didn’t set the DVD to play subtitles. You see, the film is French, but I found the look and the nature so compelling that I almost forgot to turn them on. But not only should credit go to this gifted filmmaker, but also to the very well-rounded cast. Gilbert Mekli, Gregoire Colin, Melanie Laurent and Sophie Cattani all add to the beauty of this exceptional film. And while you may not find its riches the first time around, maybe because of its delicate pace, you might want to check it out a couple of times.
The story is simple, much like the opening sequence. Melki portrays Leo, a successful businessman that suspects he is being followed. And he happens to be correct. Colin is Kopas, a hitman hired to kill Melki for reasons which we are unaware. The killer studies tapes of his assignment, even witnessing the man with his young daughter. But he feels no remorse, just an incredible patience to find the right moment. And when the two men meet, as Kopas pretends to be a possible client for Leo, there is a strange sense of tension that follows through much of the film. But be warned. This is not a shoot ‘em up type of picture. It is slow moving and guides its players to where they should be, leaving you wondering how all the pieces will connect. Although, one scene has Kopas following his target and even though it is certainly not a chase sequence by Hollywood’s standards, it is a tension filled moment of wondering how it will all end.
Was it all a beautiful day in Paris? Not quite. As much as I am for a film taking time to unravel, I think the momentum picked up quite a bit for the end of the second act which slightly dragged a few times before. Especially since the two men meet up and the course of history is possibly changed. I wouldn’t have minded just a bit more correspondence between the two characters. But this minor issue certainly didn’t ruin the experience in any way. And while I have to remind you that this is very “deliberately” paced, I feel that is worth looking into as a way to tell a suspenseful tale by simply telling a story and not having something blow up every five seconds.
Anger opens up the world just enough to let the audience in on both Melki and Kopas. His camerawork keeps close on his subjects, but pulls away at some pivotal shots. He effortlessly moves between the lives of both of his fated characters and shows the audience just enough to keep them guessing without spoiling the riveting finale. And I must recommend the lovely performance of both Laurent and Cattani. The two women support the men, but they do it with such grace and style that they more than add to this fine film. This is a fresh and unique bit of cinema that will be worth checking out for those looking for something different from you typical horror flick, or the recent summer blockbuster.
Video / Audio
Video: Evokative Films present a good 1.85:1 aspect ratio that works quite well on DVD.
Audio: The 5.1 Dolby Digital is quite nice, and it sounded terrific when an Elvis Costello song could be heard in the film. Just as a side note, the soundtrack is very good.
Now the Special Features gave me a bit of trouble. You know why? I don’t speak French… like, at all. So the fact that they only have an Audio Commentary with Cedric Anger and one of his short films, and neither of which are subtitled makes for a frustrating watch. But I will say, with the ease that the feature had without subtitles, I did watch Novela and I enjoyed the look of the film. It is obvious that Anger has a very specific style which was incorporated into both films quite well.
I also have to mention the Booklet included in the film which is in both French and English. It is definitely worth a read whether you are a fan of the movie.
I found Cedric Anger’s Le Tueur to be a refreshing change of pace in a world full of remakes, fast cuts and big explosions. This is a subtle and beautifully shot motion picture offering a strong script and some nice performances from the cast. There are few quick cuts and a ton of long shots that weren’t afraid to spend time on the subjects, which made for a much more entertaining thriller that will surprise and delight fans of French Cinema. And I have to say that Sophie Cattani is absolutely lovely. Good job casting her Mr. Anger.