Bruno Reidal, Confession of a Murderer, is currently awaiting a U.K release date.
As summer slowly descends into Autumn in the deep woods of Raulhac, France, a seventeen-year-old boy desperately washes his bloodied hands in a stream. Just a short walk away lies the body of a thirteen-year-old among the ferns, his head removed in a brutal and unprovoked attack. His murderer is the young Bruno Reidal, and as he attempts to wash away the evidence of his crime, he realises the inner battle that has haunted him since childhood is finally over. Bruno stops washing further and slowly walks from the stream into town, where he admits his horrendous crime. But what could have led this intelligent but ostracised young man to commit such a heinous act of violence on an innocent young boy?
The year is 1905, and as Bruno faces decades of incarceration for his crime, a group of doctors who sit at the forefront of a newly emerging science, psychology, ask him to write down his story as they decide his fate. However, the story Bruno will recount only adds layers of complexity to his final act of butchery as the doctors attempt to unpick the reasons for his crime.
Vincent Le Port’s outstanding feature debut takes the written confessions of Bruno Reidal and turns them into a chilling and compelling journey into child and adolescent psychology. 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.
Le Port’s eye for detail is stunning. Through his recreation of early twentieth-century France and the poverty at the heart of Reidal’s rural life, La Port dissects his 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, La Port explores the dark complexity of Reidal’s repressed sexual need for the smartly dressed and beautiful young boys he secretly desires.
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 detailed, intelligent, and devastating portrayal of Reidal, from his damaged childhood to his increasingly sinister inner thoughts. Unlike Jeffery Dahmer and Jürgen Bartsch, Reidal’s urge to kill and forever own his victim would never move beyond a single young boy. He would attempt to control the battle within him through masturbation, study and self-imposed isolation, becoming a sexually ambiguous figure who rejected any closeness. Yet, for all his attempts at self-control, Reidal watched the boys around him like a hawk, the downy hair of their young necks and young muscles too hard to avoid as he gazed upon them from a distance.
At no point in the narrative journey are we encouraged to feel compassion or sympathy for Reidal, but we are encouraged to explore nature versus nurture in creating the young murderer he became. La Port never shies away from the horror of Reidal’s actions or his complete lack of empathy but equally asks whether he was born to kill or built from his childhood experience and psychological trauma. There are no easy answers to the questions raised 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 with us as we attempt to unpick the journey of a damaged boy who would become a savage killer.
MONSTER: THE JEFFERY DAHMER STORY
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.