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In 2008, indie filmmaker Antonio Campos drew fame and acclaim with his disturbing prep school drama Afterschool, which earned a Best First Feature nod from the Independent Spirit Awards. He has since become a recurring figure at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2011, Campos premiered Martha Marcy May Marlene, which he produced. This chilling drama won rave reviews and launched Elizabeth Olsen. The following year, the festival debuted his directorial follow-up Simon Killer, which might be poised to make its leading man, Brady Corbet, indie cinema's next obsession.
Corbet, who previously appeared in Martha Marcy May Marlene and Melancholia, stars as Simon, a recent college graduate who travels to France to find a cure for his mounting—and dangerous—depression. There he meets a beautiful sex worker named Victoria (Mati Diop). Shortly after the two become romantically involved, Simon urges her to blackmail one of her married johns for a fat payout. From there, this psychological and erotic thriller heats up. Check out its first trailer below, or see it in hi-res over at Apple:
Though the majority of critics praised Campos' challenging teen drama Afterschool, they were much less enthusiastic over Simon Killer. The trailer boasts complimentary pull-quotes from LA Weekly, New York Magazine, and Salon, but our own Katey Rich has described it as, "a grim, slow and occasionally divisive film that polarized even open-minded critics." Personally, Afterschool was far too bleak for my tastes and made me feel ill. But this trailer is so kinetic and off-kilter that I'm intrigued. And the division of the critic community just makes me more so. How about you?
Simon Killer will open in limited release on April 5th.