- Complete Monster: Eric is the psychopathic leader of the bank robbers who has taken to acts of extreme violence (including murder and domestic terrorism) so he can enjoy the rush. He invites his American friend Zed over to Paris to take part in a bank heist with Eric and his gang-with almost no planning and while they're all high on heroin. During the heist he shocks his associates by repeatedly killing hostages, initially to force the bank manager to open the vault but later just to blow off steam. He uses a bomb to kill a guard who's holed up in the vault. He later decides to rape and kill Zoe, the prostitute who visited Zed in the opening, when he notices that she has a day job in the bank. When Zed objects to this, Eric slashes Zed's face with a knife and reveals that their "friendship" means nothing to him. He ultimately leaves his gang to their deaths when the cops burst in to stop his killing spree, while pursuing Zoe and Zed to kill them both.
- Cult Classic: Avary's stated goal was to make "an exploitation film for the coffee shop crowd." He succeeded.
- Faux Symbolism: As one character is dying, he rambles the non-sequitur, "Ox, where is thy yoke?" The director has gone one record saying he wanted a Shakespeare quote but was too lazy to look one up.
- Jerkass Woobie: Zed. Yes, he's just as much a thief as the others but he's also the only one that's compassionate, like giving the security guard a Mercy Kill, lunging at Oliver to stop him form killing Zoe and trying to do the job without getting anyone killed. It also helps that he's the most professional out of them all (ex. He's the only one who points out that he hasn't even been to the bank yet in order to help plan out the job, he doesn't laze about or get high while on the job, etc) and he doesn't engage in any of the more outrageous activities like the others which makes him much easier to sympathize with. So when he's getting beat up by Eric near the end, it's tough not to root for him.
- The Woobie: The titular Zoe. A Hooker with a Heart of Gold who's just trying to live peacefully but ultimately get's beaten up and nearly killed by Eric, simply because she happened to be the one who slept with Zed before the job (granted, he likely would've hurt her regardless but that connection did not do her any favors) .
YMMV / Killing Zoe