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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Simon Killer [Blu-ray]

 

(Antonio Campos, 2012)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: FilmHaven Entertainment

Video: Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Spine #63

 

Disc:

Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:45:45.464

Disc Size: 46,452,482,572 bytes

Feature Size: 30,699,657,216 bytes

Video Bitrate: 38.70 Mbps

Chapters: 11

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: August 26th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.4:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1764 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1764 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, none

 

Extras:

• Behind-the-scenes and rehearsal footage from the production of the film (20:47)
Sundance Alumni interview with Antonio Campos and producers Sean Durkin and Josh Mond (15:50)
The Last 15 - Campos s Palme d Or nominated short film (17:33)
The Case of the Conscious Camera - A 29-minute interview with Campos on the aesthetics of Simon Killer (28:54)
Conversations with Moms - an interview with Campos, Brady Corbet, and their mothers (6:00)
Original theatrical trailer (2:11)
Booklet featuring a new and exclusive essay by critic Karina Longworth; a new interview with Antonio Campos; a visual primer on the development of the poster art; and more!

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: A deeply disturbing character study of a handsome and sociopathic American in Paris, writer-director Antonio Campos's Simon Killer hones further the psychological perceptiveness and keen filmmaking craft exhibited in Campos's acclaimed feature debut Afterschool.

Brady Corbet ( Melancholia, Thirteen, Martha Marcy May Marlene ) plays Simon, a recent college graduate full of promise and potential, who goes to Paris to begin a trip around Europe following a break-up with a long-time girlfriend. An outsider adrift upon a profound sense of loss, Simon takes solace in the company of Victoria (Mati Diop of 35 Shots of Rum), a beautiful, young, and mysterious prostitute - and their fateful journey begins...

Emotionally compelling and visually stunning, Simon Killer is an examination of casual brutality, profane sexuality, alienation, and desperation, all cut to a killer soundtrack that underscores the borderline psychotic fervour of Simon's descent. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present the UK debut of Antonio Campos's powerful, hypnotic, and remarkably assured Simon Killer on Blu-ray and DVD.

 

 

The Film:

A heartbroken American on a soul-searching trip to Paris finds his buried secrets clawing their way to the surface in this neo-noir thriller from writer/director Antonio Campos (Afterschool). Lovelorn in the aftermath of a recent break-up with his longtime girlfriend, American college graduate Simon (Brady Corbet) wanders the streets of Paris aimlessly, and drifts into a sex parlor where he encounters mysterious prostitute Victoria (Mati Diop). His emotions suddenly reawakened, Simon hatches a plan to blackmail one of her wealthy clients -- a crime that has some unexpected repercussions for all involved.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

"Simon Killer" is an amoral tale, and a cautionary one, that reminded me my mama was right when she said "Never talk to strangers" and "Looks can be deceiving."

Indie director Antonio Campos has put the tipoff in the title, suggesting that this particular Simon — played to chilling effect by Brady Corbet — is anything but simple and that he might possibly be lethal as well. Whether he is an actual killer or Campos is only sifting around for the right metaphor really is beyond the point.

What is so disturbing about this contemporary noir is that Simon could easily be mistaken for just another American college boy wandering around Paris on break, one of those troubled, slightly broken intellectual types women are forever trying to save. The truth of what Simon is takes shape over time, like a shadowy figure slowly emerging from the darkness.

Excerpt from LA Times  located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Simon Killer gets a technically strong transfer to Blu-ray from The Masters of Cinema arm of Eureka Cinema in the UK. The film was shot using the Arri Alexa HD camera and the image quality seems to hide most of the weaknesses of that versatile format. It looks as I anticipate it did theatrically - thick and heavy with many dark sequences. There is no noise. It is neither glossy nor pristinely sharp but shows some depth and I would guess the 2.4:1 aspect ratio 1080P transfer is a strong replication. Colors are mostly passive and true. The few day-lit close-ups produce good sharpness. This Blu-ray is dual-layered with one of the highest video bitrates that I have seen. It produces a pleasing and consistent presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio comes via a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at 1764 kbps. The transfer is competent but the film doesn't have much aggression or crisp separations. There is some background noises coming through the rear speakers. There is an original score by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans (Martha Marcy May Marlene) who have done some shorts and documentaries together. It works well within the framework of the film's style and seems to benefit from the lossless. There are English subtitles for the French and optional English for the entire film and and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Extras :

Masters of Cinema add some relevant supplements. We get a 20-minute Behind-the-scenes piece including rehearsal footage from the production of the film. There is a 15-minute Sundance Alumni interview with Antonio Campos and producers Sean Durkin and Josh Mond. The Last 15 - is Campos' Palme d Or nominated 17-minute film from 2007. The Case of the Conscious Camera - is a 1/2 hour interview with Campos discussing the aesthetics of Simon Killer and lastly (beyond a theatrical trailer) we have a 6-minute Conversations with Moms - that has Campos, Brady Corbet, and their mothers. The package contains a liner notes booklet featuring a new and exclusive essay by critic Karina Longworth; a new interview with Antonio Campos; a visual primer on the development of the poster art!

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I watched Simon Killer a few days ago and waited to crystallize my thoughts and see if my reaction would change. I still see it as an impressively paced build-up exporting an uncomfortable tension with a strong sense of suspense. It tells the story with performances and mood - rather than dialogue. I like this style of narrative. It's a bit of an odd choice for MoC to release on Blu-ray, but I'm glad they did and appreciative that I had the opportunity to view it. Certainly the structure and topic won't appeal to all but I think many could respect the impressive filmmaking going on here. I would think people who found value in film's like Meek's Cutoff, Morvern Callar and Martha, Marcy May Marlene - might be the group who will like Simon Killer (which, by the way, I don't consider in quite as high esteem). 

Gary Tooze

August 5th, 2013

 


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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