(TORONTO, ON) – Next Time I’ll Aim for the Heart. This film is based on the filmmaker’s view of real life killer Franck Neuhart (Guillaume Canet), a gendarme gone bad in the Oise region of France. He killed young girls between 1978-79. I believe not because he enjoyed killing.
Neuhart seems disgusted with killing, but more disgusted with the human race. He believed that killing gave him absolute freedom.
In many respects, I say the film is not suspenseful but mechanical, as Franck is mechanical. When he is cruising for young girls to kill, in cars that he steals, their screams are horrific as they are shot at close range and blood and guts are spattered about. Graphic and haunting.
Franck is just a normal guy to the outside world, a bit shy, a good gendarme, and a good son. But, in his apartment, all his victim’s stories from newspapers are pinned to the walls.
He also has a large gun collection, he takes ice cold baths, beats his back with branches, and wraps his arms with barbed wire.
Quite obviously he has a few issues. Canet plays the part perfectly.
His awkward relationship with Sophie (Ana Girardot) suddenly almost turns violent when he finds her hair in his comb. He has a fit and calls her a tramp and slut. It’s the first time we see overt and demonstrative hatred.
And to think, just hours ago she called him the nicest and sweetest man. There are moments when I think Franck will kill Sophie.
Despite a narrow escape from the police after a murder, his luck turns a bit sour as all the local gendarme’s attendance schedules are checked and his time-off corresponds with the timing of the murders of the young girls. His prints are detected on a false license plate he put on a car and he is taken into custody.
In real life he gets off the hook by being judged NCR and remains under psychiatric care in prison.
This is a movie about an outwardly healthy man that is very sick, and sickened further by his murders. But he continues killing like a machine.
Psychopaths show no remorse. Franck shows a tiny sliver of regret, but I wouldn’t expect anyone watching this film to feel sorry for him. The murders of those young girls will turn you against Franck immediately and may be left in your memory for some time.
The title of the film refers to an unsuccessful murder attempt by Franck where he shot his victims in the legs.
Sad and appropriate soundtrack for such a chilling film.
(“Next Time I’ll Aim for the Heart” (La Prochaine Fois Je Viserai Le Couer), France 2014, 111 minutes, Director Cédric Anger, French With English Subtitles, Part of Toronto’s Cinéfranco Film Festival and a Canadian Premiere, 18 April 2015 at 2:00 pm, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema)