Requiem For A Killer Review

Requiem For A Killer opens with the angelic faced Lucrece, played by the equally angelic Melanie Laurent, bellowing out a beautiful operatic refrain.

As her exceptional and husky voice drifts over the audience, some heavily stilted editing reveals that Lucrece is not only a semi-professional opera singer, but a single mother and contracted assassin who kills with church wafers whilst wearing liberally applied eye liner.

Enter Jerome Le Gris’ homage to Agatha Christie style suspense, where the French director leaves his audience wondering just one simple thing.

How slow can ninety one minutes go?

Lucrece has been convinced to take one last job by her handler Xavier, and the target is opera singer Alex Childs whose large whisky distillery in Scotland just so happens to sit in the way of a proposed major oil pipeline.

Since he refuses to sell, Lucrece has been hired to kill him and make it look like an accident. The only caveat being that the hit must happen before Childs’ sings in a rendition of Handel’s Messiah at a Swiss châteaux. Posing as one of the Scotsman’s fellow opera singers, Lucrece heads out to take one last life in the Swiss mountains.

Unbeknownst to our dyed blond bomb shell, the French government is also hot on her trail; and they’ve dragged a former super-spy turned guitar player called Rico out of retirement for his final mission.

Sent to the châteaux disguised as another member of the orchestra. all Rico knows is that the illusive Lucrece has apparently been hired to take out Childs. Seeing potential assassins everywhere Rico battles his own demons and his duty to the job, as he battles to save Childs as well as himself.

Requiem For A Killer is filled with mistaken identities, unexpected plot twists, unintentionally hilarious deaths and overacting through eyebrows; all of which combine to leave the audience slouching somewhere near the back of their seats wondering just how will the show go on?

And if it doesn’t, would I even care?

Le Gris helms a wayward production, with this story plagued by poor editing and cheap instagram reminiscent colour saturation. The style of Requiem For A Killer is just too jarring, as le Gris opts for style over substance far too often which left this viewer feeling like I’d just watched a prolonged car ad rather than a feature film.

Yet the biggest disaster is the writing, as le Gris’ overly explanatory dialogue ruins any stab at suspense.

Even worse, the two dimensional characters don’t hold your interest when they’re in peril. I didn’t feel anxious, rather a sense of relief that surely this film must be near its end as people begin to drop like flies.

For a film about such a passionate and grandiose art form as opera, it’s amazing how insipid Requiem For A Killer is.

Shelton Lindsay

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June 2012
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