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Killing Zoe

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Zed (Eric Stoltz) is an American vault-cracker who travels to Paris to meet up with his old friend Eric (Jean-Hugues Anglade). Eric and his gang have planned to raid the only bank in the city which is open on Bastille day. After offering his services, Zed soon finds himself trapped in a situation beyond his control when heroin abuse, poor planning and a call-girl named Zoe all conspire to turn the robbery into a very bloody siege.

This nihilistic, Generation X cult crime thriller (executive-produced by Quentin Tarantino) about a violent bank robbery-heist in Paris (on Bastille Day) was directed by first-timer Roger Avary.

Julie Delpy (Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004)) played the part of an escort/art student named Zoe, in a very small role. Scruffy, laid-back and calm safe-cracker Zed (Eric Stoltz) had asked his taxi-cab driver to procure a prostitute (“wife for the night”), and she soon arrived at his hotel room door. She spoke French and then changed to English, announcing her fee as 1,000 francs (around $200) for the night: “I don’t do weird stuff, a condom, and you have to pay in advance…blow job included.” “‘Weird stuff’ included “peeing on me” – she elaborated, and she noted that they both had “Z names.”

After he paid her for sex, he watched as she slowly and sensuously undressed, first removing her black bra in front of him (and asking: “Slow enough for you”) before she removed his pants and climbed atop him. The original silent vampire classic Nosferatu (1922) by F. W. Murnau played soundlessly on the room’s TV, intercut with their sex scene to create an unsettling atmosphere. However, they were instantly and blissfully connected to each other. After sex, she immediately admitted that she liked him. She called him an uncharacteristically “good person” compared to the “creeps” she usually met. She said that they had “body language. We fit together…we clicked. You made me orgasm.” She honestly claimed she never orgasmed with other often-fat clients.

“And you make me feel safe. That’s maybe more important than the orgasm. You know, it may be the integral part of the orgasm…So I really mean it, what I’m telling you, Zed. I like you very much…It’s my choice to be here.”

She described that she had a “day job, three times a week — very boring, but one day there will be only my art…I don’t paint. I make things. Object(s). Not like sculpture. Like life. What I do, I do it only for the objects.” She denied that she was a typical prostitute, but was more of a real person: “the difference is a prostitute would have lied to you about (her) orgasm. I didn’t lie.” They passionately kissed, continued talking and soon fell asleep in each other’s arms until his strung-out (HIV-infected), long-haired, unpredictable robbery friend-childhood buddy Eric (Jean-Hugues Anglade) arrived early in the morning and threw her out.

After an extended and chaotic night of carousing (drinking, shooting up heroin, smoking dope, pill-popping and night-clubbing), Zed joined a motley group of criminals to assault the bank – and to make matters more complicated, Zoe was discovered to be a clerk at the bank – her day job. When the robbery went completely awry in the bloody climax, hostage Zoe saved injured Zed from annihilation by the increasingly-psychopathic Eric and the police, claiming that he was a bank customer.

In the film’s last line of dialogue, as she drove him away in her car, she promised: “You’ll get well. Then I’ll show you the real Paris.”

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Genre: (1990-1999), 1993, Action, Bare breasts, Crime, Drama, Female Nudity, Nudity, Thriller

Director: Roger Avary

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