Friday, September 7, 2007

Killing Zoe (1994, Roger Avery)

"Zed is an American safe expert who gets involved in a bank robbery which is only bound to go wrong"

I was hoping to find a great misunderstood film with this one. I am a big fan of Roger Avery's Rules of Attraction and part of me hoped that this one would be just as great. It kind of is but it's kind of not. It is just one of the most uneven films I have ever stumbled upon.

Killing Zoe seems to be broken up into 3 segments of storytelling. I will now write about each segment just to give an idea of how uneven the film is.

The hero falls in love with a prostitute - The film starts stylishly enough with Zed going into a cab. Immediately the dialogue is crisp and seems to fit the style of the film well. Then 10 minutes later he is already laying down in a bed with a prostitute and having conversations which seem too forced to even sound cool or hip. She,of course, already loves him from the get go. This whole rushed intro to the film seems to want to establish this cinematic world as a pulpy gritty world but it doesn't do so because everything feels rushed and forced. Then all of a sudden...

The hero meets his friend and parties- This is the segment of the film which just destroyed everything for me. Our hero Zed meets up with his friend, they talk about the robbery for about 4 minutes, and then they go on a drug binge. The drug binge sequence lasts about 20 minutes and it does absolutely nothing at all to the story or to its characters. It is literally just 20 minutes of a group of low life thugs smoking heroin, going to bars, and then talking about nonsense.

The hero & the bank robbery - Now this is where the film shines. Finally after a mediocre beginning and a horrible mid section, the film picks up. This whole bank heist sequence and the way it all goes down is very stylish, tense, and exciting. It just doesn't stay that way too long before it just all turns into a excuse for a bloody shoot out.

In the end all of these 3 segments of the film just don't match up just right. When the film finally settles down and tries to deliver it becomes pretty good. The problem is that it does it with little excitement behind everything and anything. The bad guys become screaming caricatures and the conclusion is a little bit too crazy for its own good.

The only thing worth really praising about the film is Eric Stoltz performance. He delivers a very subtle and charismatic performance that deserved a much better movie.

As it stands Killing Zoe is not a bad movie at all. It's entertaining at times and never really has a moment that makes it feel slow. It's main flaw is that it all feels uneven and rushed.

- C

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