By Hemanth Kissoon
“It’s a cinch. You’ll be rich for life.”
A beautiful, lethal French woman who is an assassin, we all remember Luc Besson’s NIKITA right? A generation later, we have a new take on the hit-person subgenre, starring an on-fire Mélanie Laurent (BEGINNERS, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS). Instead of the expected sassy, sexy and slick thriller, writer-director Jérôme Le Gris delivers a laughable, incompetent and amateurish dud. According to IMDB, it’s his debut, and allowances should be made; but Le Gris submits the audience to an 88 minute ordeal of banality.
Opening with a comically un-tense kill at a church mass, we quickly move into movie cliché territory; you know, the one-last-job-before-retiring bullsh*t. And obviously that’s the gig where everything goes wrong, an unforeseen metaphor for REQUIEM FOR A KILLER. Laurent’s Lucrèce is meant to have been a talented opera singer, but randomly went down the path of contract murderer. Where Laurent sings, it looks so fake your jaw will hang with incredulity. Why not cast an actress who is a capable of hitting some opera notes? Or, play to Laurent’s strengths as a pop chanteuse (she has an album, EN T’ATTENDANT)? The final hit is to take place at a classical music festival in a Swiss chateau.
Lucrèce has a handler in l'Arménien (Tchéky Karyo), whose only personality tick is eating a raw lemon every day. Another metaphor, for viewer reaction: a similar wincing, uncomfortable taste. The agent contacting the duo is a priest. A cack-handed commentary on organised religion, or desperate attempt at injecting colour. The client is a corporation called, I kid you not, “British Oil”. Where is the imagination? They need to drill a pipe across some land, the sale of which is being refused. The company decide to hire someone to kill the owner, who is also an opera singer appearing at the festival. It must look like an accident. This whole movie looks like an accident. Thrown into the mix is Rico, brought in by some shady government secret agency to thwart the killing and take out the assassin, who they think is a man. How is their intel so mega accurate on the minutia, but so off the mark on the most basic stuff?
I could continue cataloguing character inconsistencies and narrative flaws, but you get the picture I hope. They build to a deafening cacophony of ineptitude. The filmmakers appear to have disdain for everyone: the audience and themselves. There’s even a pointless shower scene; I thought they finally stopped in the 1990s.
This is possibly the funniest assassin flick of all time, or one of the worst, or both.