So much average
One of my all time favorites.
The story, direction, characters, and writing/dialogue is akin to taking a tranquilizer shot to the neck, but everything else was so well done.
I remember hearing whispers of the low-budget heist thriller Killing Zoe back in 1993, mainly because of its link to Quentin Tarantino, the then up-and-coming indie writer/director who was quickly becoming the poster boy for '90s cool following the controversial success of his debut Reservoir Dogs. Killing Zoe was directed by Roger Avary, the film enthusiast who worked in a video store with Tarantino. When the writing duo won an Academy Award for Pulp Fiction in 1994, Tarantino was the best thing since sliced bread, and Killing Zoe enjoyed a brief cult success due to the motor- mouth's name being plastered above the title, although only serving as executive producer. Almost a quarter- century later, Avary's film has faded into obscurity, and deservedly so.American Zed (Eric Stoltz) arrives in Paris and quickly befriends a talkative cab driver, who offers to set him up for the night with a girl. Back at his hotel room, he is soon joined by the young and beautiful Zoe (Julie Delpy), who insists that she is not a prostitute but an art student looking to make some quick cash to get by. She inexplicably falls for the overwhelmingly passive Zed, until Parisian Eric (Jean-Hugues Anglade) barges in and throws her out. It turns out that Zed is in Paris to assist his old friend with a bank job, where he will use his expertise to crack open the tricky vault. Eric insists that the heist happens the very next day, and rather than take the time to mull over the plan in detail, Eric, Zed and the rest of the gang indulge in a night of excess, involving drink, women, and lots and lots of heroin.It's no surprise that the eventual robbery goes spectacularly wrong, with the gang (including Gary Kemp) still tripping from the night before and feeling particularly trigger-happy. What occurs in the final third is a hateful and tedious orgy of blood and shouting. The crew aren't endearing in their ineptitude, but completely annoying and charmless. It certainly has a deliberate manic energy to it, but is done so with a lack of real substance. The movie is at its best during the moments building up to the heist, which use a mixture of out-of-focus photography and garbled dialogue to create a truly whacked-out atmosphere. It's almost like that moment when you realise you've had too much but your friends won't allow you to leave, only with a bunch of junkie psychopaths in your face spouting their own nonsensical philosophy. Overall, it's an unpleasantly nihilistic experience that offers only a glimpse into Avary's talents and obvious fondness for cinema. Keep your eyes peeled for a bizarre cameo by Ron Jeremy.
Zed (Eric Stoltz) has only just arrived in the beautiful Paris and already he is up to no good. Having just slept with a call girl (Julie Delpy), he spends a night on the town with his dangerous friends. They all decide to rob a bank the following day. There is only one problem: Zed's call-girl, Zoe, just happens to work at the bank which is to be robbed! I believe this film comes from the same guy who wrote "Pulp Fiction", and the similarities are evident. Although the first half is a strange romance-turned-heist, the film gets increasingly violent as it carries on. This is very much the same style as "Pulp Fiction". (Both also feature Eric Stoltz.) Julie Delpy is interesting here. Although she is more or less reduced to a secondary character, it is interesting how she was something of the "it girl" as far as French women in American movies were concerned. She was not the first or the last, but it seems that at any given time there is always one French actress who is the standard for appearing in American films.
This film has a lot of Tarintino influence in it, especially as he helped director Roger Avary make it. Like From Dusk Til Dawn, Killing Zoe spends the first half of the movie setting the scene and the rest of the movie with the action. Killing Zoe is a low budget film made in Los Angeles with a few Parisian shots. This is also Avary's first movie and I think he has some talent.Zed (Eric Stolz) has been invited to Paris by an old friend, Eric (Jean-Hughes Anglade) to crack a safe in a bank. Zed is a professional, and we see this as he sets to work opening a safe, yet he is a quiet humble man who prefers to make love than to kill. He is also a man who is easily manipulated and Eric does this quite regularly in the movie. We see Zed being forced into taking drugs and having women dragged away from him because Eric doesn't particularly like them. He is also taken of a tour through a very dark side of Paris where we see drugs, sleazy women, and men screwing like animal (I use such terminology because it is only for the selfish desire of pleasure). The next day, Bastille Day, he then must participate in a daring bank robbery. Daring because everybody is hung over, or still on drugs; it is a high security bank; and it seems very little planning has gone into it.Eric is not the typical Hollywood robber. He kills at a whim and has no preferences to who he will kill. He murders a woman and a man and lets another man go free. In fact Eric seems to have a thing against women as he brutally throws Zoe (Julie Delpy) out of the room when he first meets Zed and throws another whore across the room when she tries to seduce Zed (even though he cannot understand her). He kills people on a whim and represents the worst that humanity can offer.Zoe is another character who begins as a prostitute yet does not want to think of herself as one. She needs to money to get through school and just considers the job as a little thing on the side. Yet she knows what she is, and even though she considers herself beautiful and refined, everybody else treats her as a whore. The reality of what she does hits home when she listens to three men tell a joke about a whore.Killing Zoe is a reasonable movie and good for a low budget production. Much of the movie was spoken in French which is supposed to reflect the fact that it was in France, but this didn't irritate me as it did in Stargate when everybody spoke ancient Egyptian. Still it is a good movie and worth a watch if you can handle drugs and brutal violence.
Quentin Tarantino's partner in crime Roger Avary (co-writer on "Pulp Fiction") ventures out on his own (Q.T. goes exec. prod. this time) for this over-boiled French thriller.Eric Stoltz is Zed, safe cracker extraordinaire who has drifted over to France from the U.S. at the request of an old friend. There he teams up with a motley crew of drugged out hippies who, with little or no planning, think they can knock off a bank vault full of gold bullion on a French national holiday.Avary has reworked the robbery gone wrong theme that Tarantino developed so well in "Reservoir Dogs", only "Killing Zoe" is not good enough to survive on the strength of this alone, so Avary has thrown in a rather beautiful distraction. Julie Delpy is Zoe, a student come call girl who entertains Zed on his arrival in Paris. A stunning distraction she certainly is, but nothing more.I guess our director wanted to add a different angle to this basic theme, but sadly the move did not help to add the depth his shallow plot so desperately needed. There was never a story in this idea, which was nothing more than that, an idea. Even the surreal journey into the seedy dives of Paris is uninspiring. I figure one would have to concede that there was never much of a movie in the story of a bunch of gangsters shooting each other up over a botched jewellery heist either, that is until you add intricate characters and snappy dialogue. "Reservoir Dogs" had it, "Killing Zoe" did not.Stoltz's strong interpretation of the doubtful Zed and Jean Hughes-Anglade's mad portrayal of the obsessive ring leader do nothing to lift proceedings. In short, Avary has unsuccessfully attempted to conjure entertainment out of nothing.Friday, September 15, 1995 - Astor Theatre