`Simon Killer' (U.S.)

**1/2 (out of four) Much of "Simon Killer" wouldn't exist without some very contrived relationships, so it's hard to award more than two-and-a-half stars to a movie that doesn't pass basic tests of credibility. Unless gorgeous French women (both students and prostitutes) are more interested in poor, desperate Americans than I'm inclined to believe. Yet writer-director Antonio Campos' stylish character study remains enthralling, largely because of Brady Corbet¿s performance as Simon, who chases a painful breakup with a trip to Paris that runs longer than expected once he establishes a relationship with a prostitute (Mati Diop) who looks like a cross between Halle Berry and Padma Lakshmi. Campos wonderfully uses music (particularly Glasser) to evoke a mood that shifts from cool to dangerous. And in Corbet ("Funny Games," "Martha Marcy May Marlene"), an actor well versed in the art of bubbling aggression, Simon¿s a glimpse into the darkness that lives inside some people, waiting for life to pull the trigger. See it: 8:30 p.m. Oct. 20, 9:15 p.m. Oct. 21 ($11-$14), with writer-director Antonio Campos in attendance
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