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By Rich Cline | April 19, 2004

Based on the true story of a killer who went on a rampage through France, Switzerland and Italy, this film is startling and unsettling. Succo (Cassetti) was a charismatic Italian who used various identities. We first meet him along with 16-year-old Lea (Le Besco), when he’s using the name “Kurt” and trying to convince people that he’s English, despite his thick Italian accent. Meanwhile we track his crimes through a police detective (dell’Isola) as he robs, kidnaps and kills people everywhere he goes.
The two perspectives are unsettling, because through Lea’s eyes he’s an energetic and only slightly shady nice guy; but we know that, unseen to her and us, he’s a vicious madman. Eventually we do see his violence (when there are other witnesses), but this restraint might be the film’s weakest aspect, because we’re never convinced he’s much more than a badly confused young man. Key events are vague or simply missing altogether, leaving the film unfocussed and confusing. We like him more than we should (shades of Chopper here, and first-timer Cassetti is excellent) and, while it’s clever in a point-of-view sort of way, the sunny, breezy side is never fully redefined by the dark horror waiting to erupt at the end.

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