The first image is taken from a car driving around the city of Paris at the speed of light. “Killing Zoe” zooms from scene to scene and emotion to emotion throughout. The speed does not slow down for one minute during this wonderful ride.
The basic plot is simple. Zed (Eric Stoltz) goes to Paris in order to help his friend Eric (Jean-Hughes Anglade) pull off a bank heist. While there he meets Zoe(Julie Delpy), who is a prostitute by night and during the day works at the bank which Zed is planning to rob. Because of the lack of planning that goes into the bank heist, much of the movie is spent watching the gang try to find a way to make it out of the situation alive without having to leave their treasures behind.
The genius of the movie lies below this plot. Eric’s gang is controlled by the drugs which they abuse in their lives. They spend the night before the heist in the seedy underground of Paris shooting heroin and snorting cocaine instead of trying to make arrangements for the next day. Even during the heist Eric takes a bathroom break in order to inject some heroin.
This movie shows the extremes that people will go to for drugs. Between the relationship of Eric and Zed, there is a tension that was not there before Eric became addicted.
Although the heist is viewed through the eyes of Zed, the story parallels the events that are going through the mind of Eric. Whenever Eric starts losing mental control, the story takes a twisted turn which ends in a loss of control by the gang.
Eric Stolz’s portrayal of Zed is remarkable. Stolz plays the character who seems to be the only sane one in a world of freaks. Although Zed is by no means average or normal, in contrast with the gang he is working with, he gives the appearance of being innocent and sweet-hearted.
On the other side of good and evil lies his best friend Eric, played by Jean-Hughes Anglade. Where Zed still has some considerations of morals and values, Eric believes that he can have anything he wants and goes after it no matter what he has to do in order to get it. Anglade’s portrayal of this character is frighteningly realistic, especially when he is on the brink of losing his mind.
Julie Delpy plays the role of Zoe in this film. She is a professional escort, by her definition, who is working the job at night in order to put herself through art school. Her acting ability with juggling two sides of Zoe that appear entirely different is amazing. The combination of Delpy, Stoltz, and Anglade makes for a memorably realistic film.
“Killing Zoe” is a movie worth watching over again. The characters are believable.
Even though there are times when the plot seems to be outrageous, the result is worth the flights of fancy. The movie is an outstanding piece of art that all should admire.