Executive produced by Tarantino for first-time director Roger Avery (who co-scripted Pulp Fiction), Killing Zoe is a violent thriller whose plot reads like a variation on Reservoir Dogs. American ex-con Zed (Eric Stoltz) arrives in Paris to do a job for his old pal Eric (Jean-Hughes Anglade), who has masterminded a daring bank robbery to be executed in broad daylight. Dispensing with a detailed explanation of his plan, Eric takes Zed and his ramshackle band of accomplices on a night of debauchery in seedy Paris night spots. The following day’s heist is a botch from the start, with the wrecked and reckless gang members shooting up the bank and its employees.
Although the similarities are obvious, Avery’s film is quite different in tone to Reservoir Dogs. Much more conventional in the way it focuses on a central male protagonist who even develops a love interest, it makes excellent use of its Paris locations and develops a convincing link between the wayward lifestyle of the gang and the mayhem of the bank job. Although it’s peppered with jokes and builds to an ironic climax, Killing Zoe is much more disturbing in its brutally frank depiction of violence and nihilism than anything to be found in Tarantino’s own films.