France, 2015, 119 min, 2K DCP, Dir. Frederic Tellier, Not Rated, French with English Subtitles, Kino Lorber
"The procedural side of the decade long manhunt takes a front seat to everything else in writer-director Frédéric Tellier's gripping period thriller." - Jordan Mintzer, Hollywood Reporter
By way of comparison, Serial Killer 1 is closer to David Fincher's Zodiac than to Fincher's grislier Se7en. After all, it is what the French call a policier, or police procedural, a genre that dwells and thrives on the building blocks of a criminal investigation more than in the graphic depiction of the crimes themselves. Since the genre's origins are Gallic, it's only natural that director Frédéric Tellier has chosen for his feature film debut the real-life investigation of a serial killer that came to be known as the Beast of The Bastille, for the Paris neighborhood where he raped and murdered seven women from 1991 to 1997. As the film opens, Charlie (Raphaël Personnaz) is joining the Quai des Orfevres grizzled homicide squad. Soon he's placed in the cold cases detail, where the hunt for the elusive killer takes over the entirety of his life. Personnaz has become, with a handful of major roles under his belt (Tavernier's The Prime Minister, Ozon's The New Girlfriend), one of France's sought-after leading men. Truffaut favorite Nathalie Baye (Day for Night, The Man Who Loved Women, The Green Room) is the morally conflicted defense attorney. Tellier reveals a knack for building tension out of bureaucratic calamity and has a hand in the screenplay and music score, the latter adding suspense by suddenly dropping out into moments of chilling silence. Remember his name.