Thursday, May 23, 2013

Film Review: Kill List (2011)

Kill List (Review)
United Kingdom/2011
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

Jay (Neil Maskell), a British soldier and part-time hitman, hasn't worked for 8 months due to severe stress from what was presumably a bad mission. Due to the constant nagging and abuse from his wife, Jay takes up a promising job with his friend, Gal (Michael Smiley). However, his employers act suspiciously and Jay slowly begins to lose control...

Kill List is a slow-burning crime drama that continuously evolves as the film progresses. It starts of very slowly, almost dreadfully slow, as we are vaguely introduced to the characters and their issues. Jay's financial troubles are introduced, as well as his damaged family. Gal is also introduced as a close friend of Jay, and he brings a promising financial opportunity to the table - a valuable kill list contract. Although it is densely atmospheric, the first act of the film is too empty and long, in my opinion.

It continues into the second act where the hits are performed - Kill List begins to evolve into a psychological mystery as more ambiguity is introduced. The first hit is a priest who seems to recognize Jay and oddly thanks him before being killed. Why? The second hit is a pervert that also recognizes and thanks Jay. Again, why? The brutal murder that follows is a scene that will haunt you; a vivid and brutal hammer attack - breaking hands, knees, and a skull. As you can see, this is where the film really begins to hook the audience with its captivating imagery, effectively graphic violence, and choking atmosphere.

The third act of the film is an odd transformation where the pace is unexpectedly turned up tenfold. I won't get into too much detail to avoid spoilers, but this is a hit that spirals out of control. It changes the entire vibe of the film, almost as if you were watching a completely different film. The final scene in the film is jaw-dropping and shocking. However, the ambiguity of the finale is a bit too overwhelming; I love films that let you think, but Kill List leaves you little explanation and not much to think about. But, again, it is a shocking ending that may leave you speechless.

The acting is great. Neil Maskell plays Jay - his character shares great chemistry with his partner Gal, played by Michael Smiley. Both Michael and Neil play their characters authentically, their discussions feel very real. The music in this film is also superb, it adds significantly to the film's superb atmosphere; the music is very ominous and eerie, I loved it. The special effects are superb, the graphic and realistic violence adds to the overall effectiveness of this film.

Overall, Kill List is a brutal, disturbing crime thriller, blanketed in a dense, captivating atmosphere; it's a rare film that manages to evolve over time. It has a rough start, but it eventually manages to get on to its feet. It's definitely not a film for everyone as it tends to lean towards an art-house style. I recommend renting or streaming before purchasing, unless you're an open-minded filmgoer.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Graphic violence and blood. Full nudity (not sexual).

No comments:

Post a Comment