Kill List film review
(Rating: 18, 95 mins) Written by Zen Terrelonge
Starring – Neil Maskell, MyAnna Buring, Michael Smiley.
Kill List is a hitman film like never seen before and with good reason – if anyone thought this up a few years ago they’d possibly have been burned at the stake or less dramatically, sectioned.
The opener shows off the distinct sound that director Ben Wheatley toyed around with personally, as the rumbling noise of a knife scratching on wood creates the film’s symbol on the screen.
The plot follows former soldier Jay (Maskell), turned idle layabout and burden to his exhausted wife Shel (Buring) and as their funds run low, enormously explosive rows between the two go off, something their young son is a constant witness to.
During a dinner date at their home, best friend to Jay, Gal (Smiley) visits with new squeeze, the ‘glary-eyed phantom’ Fiona. Former Army buddy Gal, knowing Jay’s current financial situation tells him about a bit of ‘work’ that has come up. Though initially reluctant, egged on by those around him, Jay opts in.
As for the cinematography, it is absolutely on point. Some great handheld shots, close ups, over the shoulder, as well as sudden and delayed cuts create an edgy, tense experience.
A sprawling British countryside landscape complete with grey, drizzled skies displays the out of city gig that the film is set.
The locations of the hits all look quite nondescript but it’s the sheer graphic violence that takes place within that will imprint on the audience.
The film overall is quite silent, it makes for an underwater sensation and then lapping over the top of the silence comes ringing ominous tones.
Wheatley may have been mildly inspired by one blood-loving man (no, not Edward Cullen), as it seems he and Kill Bill director Quentin Tarantino share a fondness for chapter titles with Kill List ensuring select scenes are complete with introductions.
Maskell is brilliant as the erratic wideboy with varying personalities, his time of service clearly plays a factor to his mental state, the numerous rows between Maskell and the bold and beautiful revelation that is Buring are genuinely awkward, and the intensity projected from them both is incredibly real.
The screams wash over you as though you’re in the room with them not knowing where to look or like you’re a neighbour next door cursing whilst pumping up the volume on the TV to mask their domestics.
Arguably the film could be deemed a pitch black comedy, one so dark it’s blue, the line execution, particularly that of Smiley’s is hilarious as he and Maskell bounce off of each other.
Throughout the film I was hooked, totally compelled as the kill scenarios gradually got darker and more disturbing but what disappointed me was the ending.
Until that point I was riveted and the mind was fully switched on, having seen that conclusion, I think my mind will stay permanently wired in a way Red Bull can never achieve until I can figure out just exactly what it was I witnessed.
Genre has been a big debate, many consider it a horror, it’s horrific but it’s not a horror, it’s a graphic, dramatic thriller with unbelievable tension and mystery building up throughout.
Killer casting, killer direction but a not so killer finish.
Kill List is out in cinemas now.