Antonio Campos' follow-up to his debut feature, Afterschool, tells the story of Simon, a 20-something man who has just graduated from college with a degree in Neuroscience. Simon has just gotten out of a long-term relationship which has left him emotionally devastated. In an attempt to find solace he goes to Paris for a quasi-vacation where he meets and begins to form a relationship with a prostitute. Antonio Campos' Simon Killer is an intricate, subtle character study of a man with emotional instability and mental issues. When we are first introduced to Simon he has a certain tenderness too him, and we the viewer really feel for this character who seems to be in emotionally pain. We witness him form this relationship with the prostitute, which is sweet and honest too, but throughout all of this, there is this brooding energy which creates this sense of unease about Simon. I really liked how for a large amount of its running time Simon Killer keeps the viewer in the dark as to what Simon's intentions are, with only small subtle clues as to the possibilities of his deception. Campos uses visual cues such as this intense flickering effect and color shifting transitions to visualize this instability in Simon and as the film progresses, the viewer slowly begins to realize how dangerous and manipulative Simon can be. Much like Campos' predecessor, Afterschool, there is heavy use of long takes, static framing and slow camera movements which create this very unique sorta-visual poetry, with some of the static shots lingering as if Campos is trying to draw every little bit of emotion out of the visuals. Simon Killer is a wonderfully made character study about an emotionally unstable character. While there is no question that Simon is a deceptive, dangerous character the film never fully demonizes Simon, rather showing his sickness in a tragic way that makes for an emotionally and intellectual experience.
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