Roberto Succo | Chicago Reader

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French filmmaker Cedric Kahn's sweeping, almost epic 2001 re-creation of the life of a notorious Italian-born serial killer, whose major mayhem occurred in the 1980s along the Mediterranean coast of France, makes for engrossing cinema. Kahn has cast a nonprofessional, the blue-eyed and baby-faced Stefano Cassetti, as the devilishly psychotic Succo, and he's cast the French starlet most comfortable in front of a camera, Isild Le Besco, as Succo's 16-year-old girlfriend. The two make out like the bandit couple in Terrence Malick's Badlands, but in their brilliant escapes, when they elude cops everywhere, they register like Bonnie and Clyde. Kahn is among the new breed of French directors who've mastered the rhythms and shooting style of American genre filmmaking, though his Succo is a bit too wild and random in his creepy criminality to grab a mass audience's sympathy. But that's Kahn's intention: to document a madman at work, without sociological excuses or sentimentality. In French with subtitles. 124 min.

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