Blood, Bullets and Badness

With a title like "Killing Zoe", there's a couple questions that come to mind.

Who is Zoe? Well, she is a Paris call girl, and we meet her when she visits the room of visiting Zed, an American whose primary characteristic in the first part of the film is that he doesn't speak French.

Tired of America, Zed has to come to Paris to help rob a bank with a French friend of his, Eric. He shows up at Zed's hotel room and promptly throws out Zoe, naked, into the hall. You could say his manners are slim to non-existent. His accomplices, who come off basically as a group of junkies, are little better.

The film tries a little hard to have a warped sense of humor. As Eric leads Zed through an apartment building to meet his accomplices, they pass a dead cat. Eric thinks it is sleeping, but it has been in the same spot for days. He nudges the cat with his foot, and remarks without much interest that apparently it is dead.

The best part is where they discuss The Prisoner, and one of the characters says his favorite episode, which happens to be the same as mine.

The robbery goes down on Bastille Day, when all the banks but the one in question are closed. This is when Eric's drug-fueled bloodthirsty nature comes full out. He intimidates his own men, kills hostages, and plainly has no control of the situation despite his insanely assured manner.

So how does Zoe fit into this? Who wants to kill her and why? Well, as it turns out, she is also a bank employee, and sits scared and silent and, as yet, unrecognized, for up until the very end, when the police have surrounded the place, and she ends up giving the first resistance from the hostages with any effectiveness. Eric's vengefulness comes out in full on her, though not so much more beyond what we've seen with other hostages - it just turns out to be more important to the story with her. Zed and Zoe are kind of sprung on each other, and true loyalties emerge.

Killing Zoe makes for a strange fit, as a title, but certainly has a high hip factor - and that resembles the movie to a degree. What we have is an update on Dog Day Afternoon with modern MTV values and without the humanity.

The characters are decently drawn, and the cinematography is imaginative, but these are tools for illuminating something, and I don't see much through the haze but people's stupidity.

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