(Crime,Drama,Thriller 1993) (18) D/W: Roger Avery C: Eric Stoltz, Julie Delpy, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Gary Kemp 1h 36m. USA/France
Zed has only just arrived in the beautiful Paris and already he’s up to no good. Having just slept with a call girl, he spends a night on the town with his dangerous friends
The movie starts out with the iconic cars scenes shot in the back streets of Paris, one of the only parts of the movie which was actually shot in France.
It was quite iconic along with a lot of early 90’s movies to have that sense of “Libertie” that Paris is supposedly all about, like Nikita and Betty Blue smashed together with films like Reservoir dogs
It addresses the language barrier quite early on. Most of the cast will speak English when asked to unless they are going to be a pain in the ass like the concierge for example. Although you are pulled through the movie along with Eric Stolts and it’s presumed that you don’t speak any French either. It’s at this early stage of the movie that your introduced to Zoë’s character and this is when the stage is set, who and how is Zoë going to be killed. The sex scene that follows curiously has slips from the 1922 Nosferatu in it, not entirely sure why. The scenes are mostly the arrival to Whitby and the death scenes, so it loosely relates to the arrival of Eric to France, the falling in love with Zoë and ultimately death??
There are a lot of connections between this movie and Reservoir Dogs, three main factors are that RD deals with the before and after of a “job” where are Killing Zoë deals mainly with the job itself, it’s like they are alternative chapters of the same story. Also there is the Epic Tale, In RD it’s Tim Roth telling a story about a faux gangster toilet scene, killing Zoë is a bit more poignant as the joke that Bruce Ramsey/Ricardo tells is about a prostitute and its overhead by Zoë who has pointed out that she’s not a prostitute which is obviously a sore point for her. Finally there is the scene where the cop if fucked up by Michael Madsen/Mr Blonde and the security guard is equally tortured by the bomb blast during the robbery.
From the beginning of the film Eric/Jean Hugues points out that he doesn’t want anyone getting AIDS, obviously this was around the same time that Diamanda Galas was bringing awareness to the “plague” and it was big news worldwide. Again the movie is right on the pulse of Generation X’s thinking.
It’s still a mystery at this stage as Zoë has been kicked out of the hotel and you don’t see her anymore, how the hell does she get killed now?!
Religion.. I didn’t want to mention this as I don’t think it’s the correct reasoning. But I’m not an expert on the colour of bank vaults, maybe they are all painted red. I think it relates to the decent into hell and madness of the main characters. From the first scenes of the film when Eric/Zed is being taken into his hotel room the Red White and Blue colours are prolific throughout the film. It really is about the essence of France. Everyone is trying to show Eric/Zed the REAL FRANCE. Everything at first is predominantly blue with hits of red and white. The hotel/jazz club are all mostly blue in tone, then from the bank job onwards everything gets really red, as the pace quickens and the blood starts to flow.
Back to the religion side, of things, the first three characters could be Zed/Jesus Zoe/Mary Magdalene and Eric/Devil. Some of the imagery of him as the devil I think is amazing like the black suit, red background when he is in scene the shot where he flicks his lighter it like the fire/sparks come from him. He just needed some horns!
I have wondered what another sequel would be like, sadly there will never be another Killing Zoe as most of the characters situation, although a follow on could possibly happen as a prequel.
It has a great soundtrack by Tomandandy especially the Canaan song which is based on an old traditional medieval song. BUT it doesn’t appear on the OST. There is a version sung by a dude but not the one that appears in the drive out ending scene, not quite sure why I’ve tried to find it online but it seems the only version that exists is a recording of that final scene!! That’s what I had to do to listen to ..
There is also a cute unaccredited cameo by Ron Jeremy and something I didn’t realise is that Tom Savini did the special effects!? WOAH!
There are some really nice comedy moments in this psychological breakdown between the two friends. We never really work out, Or I never really work out why it’s called Killing Zoë. There are theories that the blood from Eric/Jean Hugues covers them at the end of the film and therefore Zoë will die from AIDS but it got everywhere, he was fucking Tai Thai as well so he’s gonna die from AIDS too if not from the bullet he took in the gut. So it’s really not about Killing Zoë. It’s probably a good time to point out that Zoë is a Greek word for life!? Who knows.
R: La Femme Nikita (1990), Leon the professional (1994) Reservoir Dogs (1992)