July 1998

Killing Zoe

A film by Roger Avary. For some reason that I can, unfortunately, understand, Executive Producer Quentin Tarantino's name appears more prominently on every version of every poster for this film, although Avary wrote and directed this stunning drama.

Released in 1994, I only came across this film during a late night showing on the Independent Film Channel. Normally, I abhor violent pictures, but I stayed glued to the set, and by the end of the film found myself sitting about 12 inches from the tv, unable to tear myself away from this gripping drama, horrified and mesmerized at the same time.

I don't know why stories and films about failed schemes are often more compelling than those depicting successes, but this film has to be the crème de la crème of disastrous bank robberies. And the joy in watching Zoe is that we know almost from the beginning that this is going to be one giant fuck-up. Perhaps that's why I couldn't tear myself away from it. I had to see it played out to it's unpredictable end.

A few words about the cast: Sexy-beyond-belief Eric Stoltz plays Zed, the American protagonist who portrays, essentially, us, the viewing audience. He's watching everything from a distance, as we are, sensing ultimate destruction yet not able to pull himself away from it. Julie Delpy, as Zoe, gives us the only real hint of normality in the film, yet she is a part-time prostitute/art student; and Jean-Hugues Anglade is Eric, the leader and organizer of the heist. His performance scared the living shit out of me. If I actually saw Anglade walking towards me on the street, I would cross it. His performance of an intelligent yet hell-bent suicidal drug addict is so powerful that I am quite beyond words to describe how powerful his acting is in this film.

Here are some web sites devoted to the film, beginning with the director's own:

Killing Zoe German film poster
German film poster

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