An erratic version of Miike Snow’s hit song ‘Animal’ by Japanese pop group The Suzan provides perhaps the best entry point into the themes and style of SIMON KILLER. Heard intermittently on the soundtrack blasting from an ipod, the cover is at once lively and nightmarish. Snow’s melancholic lyrics about resigning to numbness and looking for ghosts – ‘in your eyes I see the eyes of someone I knew before long ago’ – here, sung in garbled English, mutate into something all but completely incomprehensible. It’s an aggressively catchy and punchy version, the English lyrics performed with aplomb but minimal meaning by lead singer Saori. In a film so preoccupied with the failure of communication, it’s a potent soundtrack choice.
Simon (Brady Corbet) is a stranger abroad, an early twentysomething American ‘doing Europe’. Adrift in Paris he wonders from bar, to street to brothel, attempting to converse with Parisians in broken French, and desperate for human interaction and sex in the aftermath of a bad break up. After establishing an oddly tender relationship with troubled sex worker Noura (Mati Diop), Simon manipulates his way into staying at her home. In a troubling scene she opens up to him in French, recounting a traumatic story about her violent ex-husband. At the end of the scene, Simon’s complete failure to understand what she has been saying to him is at once darkly funny and more widely symptomatic of a failure to comprehend those he encounters either linguistically or emotionally.
Shot in a stark style and acted with striking authenticity by a hugely talented cast, SIMON KILLER is a challenging and rewarding film at its core about misunderstanding and deception. We are delighted to screen the film across Picturehouse Cinemas tonight. Tickets here