With his hard yet humorous film La Haine, Mathieu Kassovitz stole the hearts of the critics and of many young viewers. His latest film Assassin was however received very coolly; in Cannes the film was even treated to a concert of whistling last year. Why did the young daredevil Kassovitz fall into disfavour so fast? As happens more often, people aim their arrows at the bringer of bad tidings. Assassin(s) focuses attention on today's violence and the media's portrayal of it in a grim drama. The film brings an unpleasant message: partly thanks to the deadening effect of the volume of non-naturalistic violence on television, we are indifferent to murder and death.Messieur Wagner (an impressive role by Michel Serrault) is an ageing hired assassin. A killer of the old school with clearly-defined professional ethics. He does indeed kill people, but he does it as well as he can and he does it for money - not for pleasure. When Wagner gets too old for the trade, he looks for an apprentice to continue his work. He chooses the young Max (played by Kassovitz himself). It soon becomes clear that Max is not without talent, but is indifferent to the professional codes of Wagner. The tension between master and pupil comes to a climax when Max involves the very young Mehdi on a job, a 'natural-born-killer' who has no truck with any code and murders with the satanic pleasure of a comic-strip character. (GjZ)

Filmmaker
Mathieu Kassovitz
Premiere
-
Country
France
Year
1997
Medium
35mm
Length
134’
Language
French
Producer
Lazennec Diffusion, ARTE France, TF 1 Films, Kasso, Christophe Rossignon
Sales
Studio Canal
Writer
Nicolas Boukhrief, Mathieu Kassovitz
Editor
Mathieu Kassovitz
Cast
Mathieu Kassovitz