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The Memory of a Killer (R)

Release Date: August 26th, 2005 (NYC-Quad Cinema and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas) by Sony Picture Classics.
The Cast: Koen De Bouw, Werner De Smedt, Jan Declei.
Directed by Erik Van Looy.
In Dutch and French with subtitles.

BASIC PREMISE: Two detectives (De Bouw and De Smedt) hunt for a serial killer.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: This is a very moody and atmospheric crime thriller. From the first frame, the cinematography and editing are both stylish and make for a often dark, but slick film. Angelo Ledda, the potential serial killer (Decleir) happens to have Alzheimer's. The flashy, dizzy camera work effectively externalizes the symptoms of his condition while, concurrently, bringing you with him along for the very violent ride. Decleir gives a very strong performance as the complicated character Ledda. He is definitely not a good guy, but he does have some good within him which makes him somewhat likeable. There are a few interesting subplots, such a prostitution ring that even involves a corrupt government officials. The most riveting and even humorous scenes are when Ledda speaks on the phone with one of the detectives (De Bouw) and forms a relationship--Ledda often calls him "too slow". It is very easy to compare the plot to Seven, Memento, and Heat, but with all the intricate and surprising details of the plot, complex characters, and stylish directing, this is one of the most refreshing crime thrillers of the year.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: There is a lot to think about because Ledda is a very complex character who shows a few signs of humanity. It is very easy to feel sorry for the lifestyle that he chose. The truth is not always what it seems--potential killers can be easily framed and even abused by law officials. Fortunately, not everyone is corrupt in this film--the two leading detectives have an unvarnished desire to solve the case. Their intelligence, courage, and persistence is very satisfying.



THE BOTTOM LINE: A stylish, complex, and very refreshing crime thriller with a very strong performance by Declair. Fans of Seven, Memento, and Heat will be very satisfied.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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