Killing Zoe is a miserable little film. It has the impact of a slug and the intelligence of a parrot. Just how bad things are becomes evident when nice guy Eric Stoltz gets it off with part- time prostitute Julie Delpy. Sexual easiness fails to disguise a doltish, naive script, which flaps limply in its attempt to establish either character as a knotty, complex being. Delpy’s part is particularly vacuous: writer- director Roger Avary moulds her with the non-comprehending indulgence of adolescent male fantasy. This failure is coupled with the later embarrassment of a pair of female lips mouthing ‘I want to be treated like a dog’ into the camera.

The main action centres on a bank heist going wrong. This is Dog Day Afternoon without any of the verve. Blood pellets splatter, but never beyond the myopic range of this group of amateur crackpots. Herion is

; Hughes Anglade has a cutting edge as psychotic junkie Eric.

' Killing Zoe is that it is trying so hard to be hip, but with all the ingredients

Killing Zoe depends on a publicity

i with barely disguised desperation (his name dominates the posters). But don’t be fooled: this spin on the Pulp

Strathclyde: UCI Clydebank.


killing Zoe: ‘lrying so ha to a. hip’

ponderous photography. Only Jean-

Probably the saddest thing about

up on screen including pointless

; mixed-media intercuts - the film

simply can’t make sense of itself.

campaign which clutches the name of executive producer Quentin Tarantino

style is a spineless squib. (Hannah Fries)

; Killing Zoe (18) (Roger Avary, US, 1993) ,

Eric Stoltz, Julie Delpy, Jean-Hughes

j Anglade. 96 mins. From Fri 13.

Glasgow: GFT, MGM Parkhead. Edinburgh: Filmhouse, UCI.


As the millennium approaches, so interest in the writings of 16th century visionary Nostradamus has revived. For sceptics, the strength of director Roger Christian’s film is that it places Nostradamus’s g'loomy predictions in a historical context, one that identifies their relation to actual events (the Plague), personaHragedy (the loss of his first wife and child) and political oppression (his brushes with the

, Inquisition). Small wonder, then, that ' the future Nostradamus predicted for

the human race was one of pestilence,

; human suffering and totalitarianism. injected, but seems a lame excuse for ,

Played with restraint, Tcheky Karyo’s Nostradamus is a haunted seer, a man tormented by his dreams and drug- tuelled visions, frustrated by the ignorance of his fellow medical practitioners, and persecuted by religious zealots. It is only when the

' fatalistic Queen Catherine de Medici

(Amanda Plummer), wife of French

ruler King Henry II, takes him under her wing that he is able to practise his

heretical arts in comparative safety.

He is helped, too, by his second wife, Ann (Asumpta Serna), who transcribes ' his automatic writings and strives to

get them published.

Although the film hedges its bets regarding the veracity of Nostradamus’s writings the final

: montage of accurately predicted

historical events sits uncomfortably alongside the personal and historical contextualising there is much to

1 admire here. Director Christian



Nostradamus: ‘much to admire’

successfully evokes the historical period, and Karyo conveys the intellectual turmoil of a religious man driven by a hunger for truth, whatever form it takes. The only off-key note is sounded by Hutger Hauer’s eccentric turn as a ‘mystic monk’, complete with an iron crown set with candles. Even the love interest involving aspiring herbalist Marie (Julia Onnond) helps to communicate the strength of Nostradamus’s more earthly passions. A thoughtful, involving account of a visionary’s struggles with himself and with those who sought to suppress his ideas. (Nigel Floyd)

Nostradamus (15) (Roger Christian, Homania/France/Germany, 1994) Tcheky Karyo, Amanda Plummer, Rutger Hauer. 119 mins. From Fri 13. Glasgow: Odeon, MGM Parkhead. Edinburgh: Odeon.

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The List l3—26 January I995 23