Watched May 29, 2012
Steve Grzesiak’s review:
I only recently broke my personal rule about not watching a massively hyped film until all the brouhaha had died down for Drive. On that occasion, it was totally the right decision. So, buoyed by the success of that, I decided to give Kill List a whirl.
Well, I won't be making that mistake again. I found myself thinking towards the end of it that the reason I hated it so much was not because it was just utter, utter trash. Which it is. But because it was utter, utter trash that actually had the basis for something quite good. And then the ending started to unfurl and I realised that I was dead wrong and that this really had no chance of being any good.
The film has its occasional plus points. The performances were largely pretty good with Neil Maskell very believable as an utterly horrible human being, but that in itself was part of the film's problem. It was also regularly off-putting to me as a fan of Spaced to see Tyres O'Flaherty as his sidekick. I kept expecting him to start dancing to the beat of his best mate battering somebody else to death with a hammer, and it would have been the light relief this film needed. The dialogue is also really well crafted and pretty authentic, too, it has to be said.
Clearly, Ben Wheatley has got those two aspects of the film spot on. But when it comes to an actual plot, Kill List has absolutely no idea what it's doing. Just when you think it and its characters can't get any stupider, it then pulls out a last 15 minutes that had my jaw genuinely dropping open with its sheer idiocy.
The twist in the tale was also one of the most predictable that I have seen for quite some time, and one that I spotted coming right from the opening scenes. Believe me, I'm not talking myself up here or being smug about the fact, I miss twists all the time. But I was genuinely angry about the fact that this film wasn't even clever enough to beat me.
It just has all the hallmarks of a film where the writers had no idea where they really wanted it to go. Practically nothing happens for the first 20 minutes of any note, at which point it almost seems as though it's trying to play catch-up, but then finds itself hauling itself back by the pants with a subplot which makes the least sense of anything in the whole film (that includes the end scenes). It tries to be about three films in one - family drama, hitman thriller, horror film - and it isn't any good at any of them.
The soundtrack is terribly intrusive, too. All whooshes and sinister snatches of human voices and clinks and pretty much everything you would expect from a film that cannot create as much atmosphere with things that are happening on screen as it wants to, so it tries to force it out there with its soundtrack. But actually it does have some decent atmosphere to it that is spoiled by its stupid bloody sounds and music.
Oh, and I forgot. THE LIBRARIAN. THE PRIEST. THE MP. IN BIG BLOODY LETTERS RIGHT IN YOUR FACE, BECAUSE, RIGHT, THAT'S WHO THEY HAVE TO KILL NEXT. HAVE YOU GOT THAT?
Piss off, Kill List.