Kill By Inches

Neo-noir horror

In Kill By Inches, the intriguing but flawed directorial debut of Diane Doniol-Valcroze and Arthur Flam, the atmosphere is properly bizarre and in moments even scary, but there is no involving story or characters to sustain the feature-length narrative, which basically revolves around one idea.

Emmanuel Salinger, who was so good in Arnaud Desplechin's The Sentinel and How I Got into an Argument, or My Sex Life, plays a young, nervous tailor whose pathological obsession with measuring female customers ultimately leads him to a violent murder.

This psychological noir-thriller, which seems to draw its inspiration from David Lynch and other horror filmmakers, will try the patience of the most dedicated arthouse patrons, which means that its bound to be relegated to minor and regional film festivals.

Co-writers and co-helmers Doniol-Valcroze and Flam, who are both NYU film graduates, claim impressive family credits: the former is daughter of Jacques, co-founder of “Cahiers du Cinema” and intellectual leader of auteurism, and the latter's uncle was Roman Polanski's co-scripter on Knife in the Water. However, their neophyte effort is a well-executed film from a technical standpoint, which is marred by a repetition of ideas and stagnant pacing, though some of the visual images are effective in evoking a neo-noirish ambience of fear and suspense.


A CineBlast! production. Produced by Gill Holland. Executive producers, Michael Morley, Raymond Demarco. Directed, written by Diane Doniol-Valcroze and Arthur Flam. Camera (color), Richard Rutkowski; editors, Elizabeth Gazzara, Ethan Spigland; music, Geir Jenssen; production design, P.K. Wish; art direction, sound, Peter Levin. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival, Sept. 14, 1999. Running time: 85 min.

With Emmanuel Salinger, Myriam Cyr, Marcus Powell, Christopher Zach.