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A really weird way of soul-stealing.

This is an easy one.

Oh yeah, Big Spoilers and Twist Reveal ahead, if you ever care for this film (which i doubt)


What's the work?

Vidocq is a French 2001 fantasy-thriller film based on the real historical figure Eugène-François Vidocq. Two really important people are misteriously struck by lightning at almost the same time and the government for some reason decides that this is part of a conspiracy, so they sent the fictionalized Vidocq to investigate. For some twist of fate it results that they were actually right, and they discover the murders were orchestrated by a ghastly urban legend who steals the souls of his victims using a mirror mask. Yes, this is a really fun film!

But no jokes, everything here is serious at really all times, despite how ridiculous the plot is. This is basically your typical thriller film but with a supernatural villain, speaking of which...

Who is he? What has he done?

I'll just show the big reveal to you since i have to explain his doings and this twist just puts in my way.

We follow the journey of Étienne, our protagonist, a journalist that follows the tracks of Vidocq, who was murdered by a mysterious serial killer known as The Alchemist, our antagonist. However by the end of the film, it is revealed that Vidocq faked his own death because the killer unmasked himself before throwing Vidocq to a fiery pit. He knew The Alchemist would try to cover his tracks as his alter-ego, which is of course, the (not so) young Étienne.

One of many of Étienne's victims.

Aight' with that out of my way i'll just explain what this bastard does.

Many centuries ago, Étienne discovered a way of gaining biological immortality. You already know how this goes, it is never with something beautiful.

Étienne kidnapped and killed many young virginal girls by hanging and exsanguinate them. He used the blood to develop a magical mirrored-mask that worked as a catalyst: It trapped the souls of every people he killed. In order for it to work, Étienne had to kill many more innocent people and made his victims look at the mask while he is killing them, trapping their souls inside it for eternity. By doing this, Étienne gained eternal youth. He did this for many, many years, until he noticed that he has been noticed by the population, gaining an urban legend status as ''The Alchemist''. In order to work in secrecy, Étienne resorted to deceive desperate people looking for eternal youth. He lured them with the lie of giving them a ''potion of eternal youth'', in exchange of many virgin girls. However once the associates filled their purpose, Étienne killed them instead of giving the promised item.

This tactic worked for him until he made the mistake of making two important and influential people his victims, as the government opened a case for him. So to not make the story long, Vidocq defeats him and frees all the souls inside his mask from their torment. He gives him for dead, but at the end of the film we can hear his breathing and the sound of a knife, hinting that the Alchemist is still alive.

Heinous Standards

This is some Texas Chainsaw Massacre bs.

He sets the standards. His associates can seem as villains since they bought many virgin girls from poor districts in order to give them to the Alchemist, but it really falls short compared to what the Alchemist does to the poor girls. Also they ended up being killed by him, so...

Let's also not forget that Étienne's killcount is insanely huge, as he had been doing this for centuries. The bastard even decorated his lab with the bones and skins of his many countless victims, so yeah, no real comparison here.

Freudian excuse/mitigating factors/Reedeming traits

Yeah no. Although fulfilling Vidocq's request of showing him his face as a ''last wish'' can seem as a honorable trait, he might have done it just as a form of sadistic pleasure: The man is his archenemy and has been a nuisance for him. Him showing his face could be interpret as mocking him, showing the man that he never got to caught (or so he thought). These are speculations however, you don't have to follow me here. However, this is the man who deceived and killed his own associates just to cover his tracks and have eternal youth only for himself, there isn't really something honorable about him throughout the film and even if i am wrong, this moment is too minor to detract from his vilainy.

Verdict

Ez yes.

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