Bruno Reidal, Confession of a Murderer, is currently awaiting a U.K release date.
As the summer slowly descends into Autumn in the deep woods of Raulhac, France, a seventeen-year-old desperately washes his bloodied hands in a stream. Just a short walk away, the body of a thirteen-year-old lays silent among the ferns, his head removed from his body in a brutal and unprovoked attack.
The murderer is a local boy named Bruno Reidal, and as he attempts to wash away the boy’s blood, he quickly realises the inner battle that has haunted his soul since childhood is lost as he walks from the stream and into town to give himself up. But what could have led this intelligent but ostracised young man to commit such a horrendous murder? The year is 1905, and as Bruno is incarcerated for his crime, a group of doctors ask him to write down his story as they decide his fate. However, the tale Bruno recounts will only add further layers of complexity to his final act of butchery, as the doctors attempt to unpick the reasons for his crime.
BRUNO REIDAL, CONFESSIONS OF A MURDERER (2021)
Vincent Le Port’s outstanding feature debut takes the written confessions of Bruno Reidal and converts them into a chilling and compelling journey into the psychology of a young murderer. His bold and uncompromising approach to Reidal’s inner thoughts, experiences, and psychological struggles is daring and, at times, overwhelming even for the most seasoned movie-goer. Here Le Port’s eye for detail is stunning, whether through his exquisite recreation of early twentieth-century France or the poverty at the heart of Reidal’s rural life. La Port dissects Reidal’s memories with clinical precision, from an incident of sexual abuse at the hands of a traveller when he was a mere boy to his isolation and sense of inferiority. Here La Port explores the dark complexity of Reidal’s thoughts as repressed sexual desires mix with a need for control over the smartly dressed and beautiful boys he secretly admires.
At the heart of Bruno Reidal, Confession Of A Murderer is an extraordinary debut performance from newcomer Dimitri Doré. Doré owns the screen with his richly detailed, intelligent, and devastatingly damaged portrayal of Reidal. Here Doré wraps the inner thoughts of a young killer in themes of repressed sexual desire, religion and ostracism.
CLIP COURTESY OF INDIE SALES (2022)
We also find these themes in the teenage stories of serial killers like Jeffery Dahmer and Jürgen Bartsch. However, unlike Dahmer or Bartsch, Reidal’s urge to kill would never move beyond a single victim due to the hidden battle that raged within him, one he attempted to control through masturbation, study and self-imposed isolation. In Doré’s hands, Reidal is a sexually ambiguous figure who rejects the concept of male sex yet watches the boys around him with a hawk-like focus. The downy hair of their young necks or their twitching young muscles form a personal pleasure he relishes as he dreams of inflicting untold harm.
At no point in the narrative journey are we encouraged to feel compassion or sympathy for Reidal. But, we are encouraged to explore the concept of nature versus nurture in the creation of a young murderer. La Port never shies away from the horror of Reidal’s actions or the lack of empathy he carried but equally asks whether he was born to kill or built from childhood experience and psychological trauma. There are no direct answers to these questions as Bruno is sentenced to life in an Asylum, where he would die aged thirty. But as the credits roll, the haunting portrait we are offered stays firmly within the viewer’s mind as we attempt to unpick the journey of a damaged boy who would become a savage teenage killer.
Vincent Le Port’s outstanding debut feature takes the written confessions of Bruno Reidal and converts them into a chilling and compelling journey into the psychology of a young murderer.