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Killing Zoe (1994)

Directed by:

Roger Avary

Rating: 4/10

Running Time: 96 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 18

On DVD

Country: France, United States

Meet Zed (Eric Stoltz). He’s just arrived in Paris on his holi-bobs. What do you think he should do first, children? Take a trip to the Arc de Triomphe? Visit the Eiffel Tower? Spend some time at one of those charming pavement cafes? Or how about sleep with a prozzer, go on an all-night heroin binge, and rob a bank amidst an horrendous bloodbath?

Zed’s copy of ‘Lonely Planet’ must be a bit different from mine, for he somehow decides on the latter option. Upon his arrival, he’s instantly fixed up with the improbably pretty hooker Zoe (Julie Delpy) who even more improbably falls straight in love with him. Then again, perhaps I’m just being cynical. After all, with his big orange mullet, cornflake-filled beard and the fact that he does sod all when his mate Eric (Jean-Hughes Anglade) turns up and chucks her starkers into the hallway, what woman couldn’t fancy him?

What follows is an increasingly nasty, seedy and violent escapade as Zed, Eric and hangers-on (including one-time Spandau Ballet bloke Gary Kemp) make a laughably amateur attempt at quietly knocking-off the city’s major bank and escaping unnoticed. Of course, as the title suggests, we have to find some way for Zoe to come back into the story, so guess what? That’s right – she works in the bank as well! Is it just me or by this stage is she starting to become reminiscent of that spotty kid from ‘The Simpsons’ who literally works everywhere?

‘Killing Zoe’ – or ‘An American Ginger in Paris’ as I prefer to call it – is directed by Roger Avary with the sort of pointless enthusiasm generally matched only by his mate Quentin Tarantino (who’s actually one of the producers here). It’s a high-speed, sleazy, aggressive film, rarely stopping to connect with the viewer and working under the gross misconception that if it’s cool enough and kinetic enough then everyone will love it. Now, far be it from me to attempt to dampen anyone’s spirit – after all, it’s spirit and belief in his own ability that went a long way towards getting Tarantino to where he is today – but it counts for little if you can’t use it to develop your film into something meaningful and relevant.

Unlike Tarantino, Avary shows here an inability to harness his passion and turn it into something that can be shared with his audience. If you don’t believe me, just pick up a copy of his 2003 let’s-make-that-Dawson’s-Creek-bloke-look-mean crapfest ‘Rules of Attraction’ which, almost a decade later, suggests he’s still done nothing to refine his style.

It's Got: A monkey that doesn’t like Billie Holliday. Everyone’s a critic these days.

It Needs: To ditch the occasional glimpses of ‘Nosferatu’. They scared me.

DVD Extras A trailer and some cast/crew interviews. Yawn yawny yawn yawn. DVD Extras Rating: 3/10

Alternatives:

Dog Day Afternoon, Reservoir Dogs, True Romance

Summary

A bloody mess, in more ways than one.

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