Archive for September 11th, 2011

Kill List

Following a year of writing almost nothing but reviews I vowed to write very few this year. By the time I see most movies they have already been reviewed to death in the mainstream media however the British horror/thriller Kill List directed by Ben Wheatley is yet to be released outside the UK so some readers may not have heard of it yet. Warning, I have tried to minimise plot spoilers but some aspects of the plot are given away below.

Jay (Neil Maskell) has been off work with a bad back for eight months, he is nagged by his wife Shel (MyAnna Buring – you may remember her from The Descent) and persuaded by his business partner Gal (Michael Smiley) into going back to work. It soon becomes clear that his bad back is psychosomatic and there are other reasons he was so reluctant to go back to work. Passing themselves of as travelling salesmen they are actually freelance hit men.

Its difficult to know how much or how little to give away about the plot of this movie, suffice to say it is a different movie to what I expected it to be. Split into three distinct acts, the second follows neatly but violently where you would expect it to go but the final one takes a really unexpected turn. The way the movie shifts genre is reminiscent of Race With the Devil (1975) and another movie I won’t mention as it will give too much away. There are hints early on where the story is going when a dinner guest scrapes a strange symbol (a cross between Blair Witch and The Deathly Hallows) into the back of a bathroom mirror and the sinister way in which a contract is sealed, but these are just hints. Without prior warning I don’t think anyone will see where the story is heading.

Made for a modest budget the movie uses its greatest assets, a good solid (and little know) cast to great effect giving them strong dialogue that they use well. Taken on its own merits each element of the movie is really well made and enjoyable (if a little gruesome in one or two places) but put together it does leave you wondering what is going on and why. One of the scenes are nothing short of excellent, all the better for a lack of CGI. It does leave as many questions hanging as it answers, this shows a lot of confidence for a director working on only his second feature. As infuriating as the lack of narrative closure is at times it kind of work letting the viewer draw their own conclusions. There is a strong theme within the movie revolving around the consequences of peoples action, I get the impression the filmmakers are trying to make some kind of social or political comment; possibly regarding recent wars or the current financial crises but this is never made clear.

Its not a film that everyone will enjoy but there is enough going on to told their attention for the modest 95minute runtime. It also has some genuinely funny moments. I will certainly be interested in future projects by director Ben Wheatley and will seek out his first feature Down Terrace (2009) that has so far passed me by.

Four Stars out of Five.


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