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Knife+Heart (2018)

Directed by Yann Gonzalez

Paris, 1979. Anne Parèze (Vanessa Paradis) is a bleached blonde, hard-nosed woman who loves her work. A producer of cheap, trashy gay porn. But pining after her Editor, an ex-girlfriend who has had enough, is a distraction. If her life wasn’t hectic enough, someone is also murdering her roster of Porn actors.

I can honestly say, I have never seen a film that quite resembles this. The blend of genres threw me completely off guard. Expecting a serious unrelenting snapshot of the French gay porn scene, yet also receiving genuine comedy and slasher horror, it was a great surprise! The neon lit, homoerotic & leather clad Michael Myers.

The lighting in this film is the key to its era. Brandishing scenes with a wash of red, blue, green, transports you back in time. Accompanied with a perfect score from M83, the electronic synth-pop soundtrack is beautifully matched with the colour palette of the film. Our mystery killer serenaded by blaring keyboards, almost feels like you could be watching something from John Carpenter himself.

Vanessa Paradis and Nicolas Maury make a great team. Nicolas plays Archibald Langevin, Anne’s right hand man. Almost the comedy relief of the film, Archibald is fantastic at counteracting Anne’s hard exterior. She is alcoholic, aggressive, but deeply in love. So having Archibald as her happy-go-lucky confidant, it is truly a breath of fresh air.

The film does not shy from the explicit. Boldly presenting its gay sex scenes like a badge of honour, as it should be. But the masterfulness of it all is that Yann Gonzalez makes it light hearted and fun. Never attempting to shock the audience, or put a message across. Instead just asking the audience to embrace the culture and enjoy the ride.

The mask-wearing killer is terrifying. Piercing eyes, through a scratched leather-bound head, topped with an off-putting head of bushy hair. His lack of speech only helps to heighten his creepy appearance, accompanied with a horrifying laboured breathing, that reverberates through to your soul. Yet no matter how scary the character is, when it comes to the big kills, I couldn’t help but notice it feels quite cheap. The killer wielding a black dildo down his pants, which doubles as a knife, is extremely tacky regardless of how fitting it is for the story.

Starting off as quite a straightforward plot, by Act 2 we are then thrown a complete curve ball. Introducing a fantasy element felt completely out of the blue and unnecessary. By this point unfortunately, the film evolves from intriguing to a little silly. But regardless of these setbacks, I did really have a great time. Yann Gonzalez has created something extremely unique and captivating. Flaunting beautiful colours, a bold premise and a killer soundtrack.



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