Roberto Succo was the nameoor one of the namesoof a real killer who terrorised the South of France in the early ’80s. His notoriety further boosted by a Bernard-Marie Koltes stage play, Succo became controversial again in Cannes this year, when police protested against this film about his bloody career. There’s nothing remotely sensationalist, though, about Cedric Kahn’s tautly forensic study of a lethal fantasist and self-mythologist on the loose. Newcomer Stefano Cassetti is a startling discovery as the intense, murderous yet somehow helpless loose canon, with Isild le Basco as his naive and self-deluding young girlfriend along for the ride. And Patrick Dell’isola as the straight-arrow policeman on Succo’s trail adds to the film’s Dostoevskian aspect, as the pursuit affects the lives of both cop and quarry. This is a very different film from Kahn’s psycho-sexual study L’Ennui, but the same rigour is thereothe dispassionate approach makes Succo’s career all the more disturbing yet understandable. Touched with a dark sense of absurdity and a keen eye for the unpredictability of people’s behaviour when faced with danger, Kahn’s study is true-crime cinema at its most intelligent.France, 2001. English subtitles. Colour. Anamorphic. 124 min.