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New Release Review (DVD) - FEVER

A pair of young men commit a murder as a philosophical exercise.





Review by Emily Craig (@emillycraig)

Directed by: Raphael Neal

Starring: Martin Loizillon, Pierre Moure, Julie-Marie Parmentier



The acting is outstanding, especially from the two main characters. Loizillon is fascinating to watch in his decline to weirdness and Simonet is equally as fantastic playing the more vulnerable and breakable of the two.


Fever is an Artsploitation release and the first feature length film from director Raphael Neal. The Artsploitation website describes their films as “intriguing, unsettling, unpredictable and provocative films to an audience long numbed by filmic predictability”.

Apparently loosely based on the true story of the Loeb and Leopold case, the film follows two young French boys, Pierre (Pierre Moure) and Damien (Martin Loizillon), who together commit a murder for no apparent reason. The film deals with the aftermath of this and concentrates on the characters' emotions and bizarre actions.


Fever opens just as the boys have finished murdering a lady, as we see them sheepishly rush from the building looking guilty as ever. The only witness who sees and suspects the two boys is our main female Zoe (Julie-Marie Parmentier), who happens to be walking by when she sees the two boys and picks up Pierre’s glove, which he drops. This glove is Zoe’s constant reminder of what she saw at the start of the film.


What makes Fever different from other murder thrillers is that we don’t actually see the characters kill anybody, which is good because it leaves much to be interpreted by the viewer. These two characters are our protagonists, and therefore we need to understand them and relate to them in some way. It also defies all stereotypes of murderers; they’re well dressed and doing well for money, and they have absolutely no incentive to kill anybody. I found this aspect of the film similar to Michael Haneke’s Funny Games, especially in the character of Damien. As opposed to relying on action scenes, Fever is definitely more of a character study and relies heavily on the characters' transition into guilt and dealing with the fact they have taken a life.

The whole basis of the murder comes from a study at school – Hannah Arendt’s theory of Adolf Eichmann and The Banality of Evil, from her popular book; the idea is that for you to feel guilt in murdering someone, you must have a personal motive, otherwise you won’t feel guilt. Obviously Pierre and Damien took their studies a little bit too far on this one.


I really liked this film; the acting is outstanding, especially from the two main characters. Loizillon is fascinating to watch in his decline to weirdness and Simonet is equally as fantastic playing the more vulnerable and breakable of the two. I loved the tension throughout, but this tension seemed to stop towards the end of the film, which wasn’t what I was expecting, nor was it what I wanted to see. The film seems to stop dead in its tracks in the last 20 minutes; I wanted to see something really epic happen for our grand finale, but this failed to materialise. The film could be quite confusing at times with the two boys constantly referring to Adolf Eichmann, which could confuse a lot of viewers if they weren’t knowledgeable on the case.
Other than these small niggles, Fever is a good film which kept me entertained for the majority of its running time, and like the Artsploitation website states, it’s intriguing, unsettling and unpredictable.

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