out of Five
Running time: 92
Ludicrous thriller that almost qualifies for so-bad-it's-good status, thanks to a nonsensical script, poor performances and dreadful direction.
What's it all about?
Directed by Jerome Le Gris, Requiem for a Killer stars Melanie Laurent as Lucretia, an elite assassin who decides to take on the time-honoured One Last Job before giving up the hitwoman game to spend more time with her eight year old daughter. As luck would have it, Lucretia is also a classically trained singer, which comes in handy when her last job involves her travelling to Switzerland and posing as an opera singer in order to kill fellow soprano Alexander Child (Christopher Stills), whose recently-acquired whisky distillery threatens British oil interests or something.
However, the secret service are hot on Lucretia's tail and they send in their own undercover agent (Clovis Cornillac as Rico) to pose as a guitar player within the orchestra, ready to take her down. And as if that wasn't bad enough, things quickly get more complicated for Lucretia when she falls for her intended target, while Rico, in turn, seems to develop feelings for her.
If it wasn't for the fact that all the laughs are very much of the unintentional variety, you could be forgiven for thinking that Requiem for a Killer was some sort of Hitchcockian farce, particularly when the opening sequence involves a ludicrous assassination attempt revolving around kittens and a poisoned communion wafer. As it is, the film is less Hitchcockian and more Hitchcock-up, since the script and direction are utterly inept from start to finish; to take an example at random, Rico accidentally blows away a learning-impaired gardener with a shotgun and it has precisely zero impact on the plot, as no-one even notices.
The performances aren't up to much either: Clovis Cornillac is surely France's least charismatic leading man, while Laurent more or less sleepwalks through her role and Stills is flat-out terrible; at any rate, there's no chemistry at all between any of them, so it's impossible to care who ends up with who or who kills whom.
Quite apart from anything else, everyone seems really, really terrible at their jobs, whether it's Lucretia repeatedly botching her assassination attempts (the film's best sequence involves an attempted death-by-poisoning that accidentally poisons everyone at the table), Rico accidentally topping gardeners or various shadowy figures ordering other characters to check that the supposedly top-secret assassination they've ordered is proceeding according to plan. Even the gardeners aren't really putting the effort in.
Requiem for a Killer is something of une disastre from beginning to end, thanks to a ludicrous script, terrible performances and appalling direction. There are, admittedly, some unintentional laughs to be had, but not really enough to qualify as a good bad movie.