Bruno Reidal: Confessions of a Murderer [2021]

Bruno Reidal is a slow-burning but thoroughly captivating and refreshing drama. It’s going to capture your attention right from the opening scene showing a brutal murder of a young boy. And during this scene, you’ll realize that what you have before you is not an ordinary movie. This is something we rarely get to opportunity to see, an unbiased, unflinching examination of human nature. Actually, a part of human nature that drives some people to commit horrific acts. Firstly, let’s get the technical details out of the way. Mostly because you probably have not heard about this movie. It features stellar cinematography, wonderful production values, and disturbingly good acting.

The movie Bruno Reidal is actually based on the diary entries of the real Bruno Reidal and the subsequent report by Professeur Lacassagne. He tried to figure out what drove Bruno to commit such a horrific act of murder seemingly out of nowhere. This is the reason why I classify this movie as a serial killer movie although technically it is not. However, it offers a look into the mind of a person who would surely become one. We will go back and forth in time and look at various events Bruno talks about in his diary. The music will be sparse highlighting only the most important scenes and leaving us to immerse ourselves in that thick atmosphere.

The story is taking place in a small village in rural France at the beginning of the 20th century. And it’s just so fucking immersive! The scenery is idyllic and the landscapes are stunningly beautiful. Especially when compared to today’s congested urban environment. You’ll learn a bit about how life was back then from a perspective of a young boy growing up in those conditions. As someone who spent a part of his childhood in a similar rural setting but during the nineties I witnessed some of the same events Bruno did. The killing of a huge pig followed by a feast and a party afterward is one of them. And it’s just as fucked up as you think it is.

While watching this movie I realized I pushed the memories of these events deep down inside me. The squealing of the pig, the casual way people went about this event, and the joy later in the evening. And do not get me started on the religious rituals. All of these events are pieces of a complex puzzle. Although I think that one of them is pivotal, a finding confirmed by something Bruno says right before the murder. It also ties in neatly with the thing he keeps doing over and over again. However, maybe this is an easy way out. I don’t know, I’m not an expert, just a humble movie reviewer.

This is why movies like Bruno Reidal are so important. They’re thought-provoking, methodical, and focus on the important things, unlike their flashy Hollywood counterparts. Something else you won’t see in those mainstream production is the extremely graphic scene of murder towards the end of this movie. As someone who watched a lot of fucked up movies, I have to admit that this scene was quite unsettling even for me. So, just know it’s coming and be ready for it. And I understand why it had to be there. It graphicly portrayed to us what happened both from the Bruno’s and the perspective of an unbiased observer.

And since we spent all that time with the man learning more about his life, it was time to pull the emotional rug from under us. Whether that had any effect on you is another thing to analyze. Fucking French and their movies, they truly are the masters of this craft. As you can notice, I simply cannot stop writing about this movie. And I haven’t even mentioned the performances. Young Dimitri Doré was mesmerizing as Bruno and the same goes for Alex Fanguin and Roman Villedieu who played younger versions of him. It is, however, Dimitri who carried this movie on his young shoulders. His captivating performance and physical appearance reminded me of Maciej Musialowski from the subversive Polish masterpiece The Hater.

And to make things even weirder, Bruno Reidal Confessions of a Murderer is actually Dimitri Doré debut role. You might venture out to say that this is a perfect movie for fans of true crime. Fuck Making a Murderer, this is the real making a murderer! That’s why it’s so hard to think of a similar movie. In my opinion, the only one that comes even close is the British dark comedy also based on true events, The Young Poisoner’s Handbook. And for some weird reason, I keep going back to The Gray Man, a movie about the notorious serial killer Albert Fish. 

Both Fish and Reidal were constantly lashed by their respective inner demons if I have to use the despicable religious terminology. In Reidal’s case, he saw all the other people enjoying life without this constant torture. Torture that drove him to excel in academia. And we can guess it would be great for him in the corporate world of today. Reidal was not reacting to the same stimuli as the rest of us. And he has this innately human desire to feel alive or just to feel anything. So, he uses what he can to satisfy those desires. This works in both physical (corporeal pleasure) and psychological (murderous thoughts) aspects. A fascinating character study indeed.

Director: Vincent Le Port

Writer: Vincent Le Port

Cast: Dimitri Doré, Jean-Luc Vincent, Alex Fanguin, Roman Villedieu, Tino Vigier, Antoine Brunel

Fun Facts: Alexandre Lacassagne was famous criminologist and a founder of Lacassagne Criminology School in Lyon. His writings have recently started getting more attention as they seem to dig deep into the psyche of a criminal. And what makes one.


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