The non-linear story line works well. It allows for the exploration and development of multiple characters – detective Franck Magne (Charlie) and defense lawyer Frederick Pons.
We are equally invested in the sub plot of the moral issues Pons faces and works through (as a female) to defend the monster who has serially raped, tortured and murdered women; as well as the main plot of the tribulations of Magne working within an archaic inept system to apprehend the killer.
The film plays like a procedural – the ongoing investigation is full of false leads and is brutally, painstakingly slow. As each promising lead fails to pan out, our frustration is distinctly palpable. Yet, with each new murder, our hopes are again renewed that perhaps SK1 – the reference name for the killer – will soon be brought to justice.
For we need that. SK1 must be brought to justice. The senseless killing needs to end.
There’s a particularly chilling exchange that occurs in the second half of the movie between SK1 and detective Magne,
…When I woke up that morning, I knew I’d kill before nightfall. The idea stuck in my head. I’d felt that before… that kind of compulsion. I took a knife and some duct tape and that night that beautiful girl walked by. I liked her right away. She turned me on. She was beautiful. Blonde, small, all in black, in a sexy dress and stockings. I’d just finished my beer. I paid, the waiter gave me my change…
That night, if you hadn’t finished your beer and hadn’t gotten your change, what would have happened?
It would have been someone else.
Why did you kill them, Guy?
That question remains unanswered.
And perhaps, that’s the film’s most haunting statement. Monsters reside among us, monsters that need no rhyme or reason to indulge their whims. It’s a haunting thought that percolates deep in the bedrock even after the film has ended.