A review of “The Memory of a Killer” by Jeanne Aufmuth


Stars: ***

Rating: R for violence and sexuality

Run Time: 2 hours.  In Dutch with English subtitles



An international hitman by the name of Angelo Ledda (Jan Decleir) has been contracted to terminate two unsuspecting targets. Unbeknownst to his boss Gilles (Patrick Descamps) Ledda is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s.

Ledda quickly carries out his first assignment by eliminating a high-profile official. When he realizes that his second hit is a twelve-year-old girl he snaps, besieged by memories of his own childhood abuse. Ledda breaches his contract and immediately becomes a moving target.

Gilles lays a trap for Ledda who turns the tables by executing him. Enraged at the betrayal Ledda crafts a plan to work his way through the ranks to the top. In the meantime two detectives hired to investigate his initial job are hot on Ledda’s trail. A cat-and-mouse game ensues with Ledda as predator and prey.

A lifetime of steely nerves fray under pressure and symptoms of the disease. Ledda gets careless and takes foolish risks, murdering two police officers while stopped for a routine check. Law enforcement groups battle for Ledda’s custody as the ugly political corruption behind a complex labyrinth of killings weaves a tangled web.

Heavily nuanced and weighty with tension, “Killer” is an intricate little thriller. The stark quick-cut style lends unnecessary narrative confusion while underscoring a certain visual panache. Stephen Warbeck’s soaring score establishes a restive apprehension that’s eerily reminiscent of such jitter-fests as “Silence of the Lambs”. Experimental and imperturbably atmospheric.