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Killing Zoe

review by Zach B.


Rated R

Studio: Artisan

Running Time: 96 Minutes

Starring: Eric Stoltz, Jean-Hughes Anglade, Julie Delpy

Written and Directed by Roger Avary

Retail Price: $24.99

Features: Production Notes, Cast and Crew Bios, Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Dolby Surround English, Chapter Search (28 Chapters)

It really only seems like yesterday I was living in Los Angeles, and was reading the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times. It was the Calender section, and I saw an incredibly weird advertisment for a movie called "Killing Zoe". It looked pretty freaky with what appeared to be Eric Stoltz in a weird mask, with a psychadelic background of sorts, the logo and "Opening Friday" and the theaters. I never checked into Killing Zoe, and I always wondered about it. A couple of years later, I did happen to catch it on television. I did enjoy it, and little did I know, this film had an incredible cult following.

Roger Avary, probably best known for co-writing the hit "Pulp Fiction" with Quentin Tarantino (and winning an Oscar® for that script), wrote and directed this twisted movie (which was released a few months before "Pulp Fiction" in 1994) about a bank heist that seems perfect, yet yields less than steller results. Zed is invited to Paris to visit his old childhood buddy, Eric, to rob a bank on Bastille Day. However, dreams don't always come true, and the thoughts of the easy life are soon destroyed when the robbery doesn't go as planned and Eric goes through a major transformation as a paranoid and psychotic druggie.

A lot of "Killing Zoe" is not so pretty and has this dark, sick edge. However, I do enjoy it because it is a pretty original movie. Avary's script is well written, with excellent character development and a plot that is pretty strong. His direction is also good, and shows he has a true vision for the film. The performances are excellent, especially by Eric Stoltz as Zed, who I think this is one of his best performances of his career. However, I think Jean-Hughes Anglade steals the show as the wacked out Eric, I found his performance to be mesmerizing.

"Killing Zoe" uses some dark imagery to create an interesting and different kind of action movie, yet it has some soul to it. The movie led to the creation of a new kind of art-house film as well, which simply stunned some people.

This DVD has been delayed and put off for some time now, but it's been finally released. How good is it? Was it worth the wait? Read on.

Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, "Killing Zoe" looks pretty decent, but the end result is disappointing. The film has a gritty and dark fixture to it, and the DVD represents it for the most part. However, images tend to be soft mostly, colors are not as vibrant as they could be, and dirt is abundant. Detail is not spectacular, either. Some of the movie looks incredibly washed out and that Artisan didn't bother to really clean it up. This really could have been a wonderful transfer that could have stood out tremendously, but all in all, it's just decent.

The sound is not particulary thrilling, either. "Killing Zoe" is presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, and I found it to be pretty hard to hear and low. Like the transfer, I think this should have also been re-done, and could have really used a 5.1 track. The effects and sound in some cases over power who's talking. This box also lists that there is a French track on the disc and there are English subtitles, neither are on the disc.

Nothing major. A commentary with Roger Avary would have made this disc perfect, but insead, we get some basic features.

First off is the original Theatrical Trailer which sounds mono in nature and is presented in full frame. It's an indie like preview too, and luckily, doesn't give so much of the movie away and makes you wonder about the film. It draws curiousity, and like any good trailer, that's what it's supposed to do.

There are Cast and Crew Bios, which give some good bios on a lot of the people who worked on the movie, as well as their filmographies.

Finally, rounding out the disc are some insightful and detailed Production Notes. This is a good read on the making of the movie. The insert in the box also has notes, which aren't word for word on the DVD, but really similar.

"Killing Zoe" is definently not a movie for everyone. Yet if you enjoy some twisted stuff and good acting, this movie is right up your alley. On the other hand, I'm sorry to say this DVD is not as good as it could have been, and since it was delayed, you'd expect some improvments.

(4/5, NOT included in final score)




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