Kill List (2011)

Kill List
Director: Ben Wheatley
Writer: Ben Wheatley, Amy Jump
Cast: Neil Maskell, MyAnna BuringMichael Smiley, Emma Fryer
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Jay (Neil Maskell) is an ex-soldier who has been home for a while. Things are not good with his wife Shel (MyAnna Buring), their money is running out and the tension is rising. When their friend and Jay’s army buddy Gal (Michael Smiley) offers Jay the possibility to take a well-paid job, Jay reluctantly agrees. They get hired by a mysterious client to assassinate three people. But things get very weird really quickly.

Kill List is an excellent film until they start to turn the film into one giant mindfuck. I’m unimpressed by mindfucks for mindfucking’s sake. This one’s no exception.


The first 20 minutes or half hour or so, the movie is a great film about a couple in the shit. Both Neil Maskell and MyAnna Buring give it their all and their really good. Is it fun to watch how those two tear each other apart? Well, only if you’re a sadistic ass. But it feels very real and is excellently written (and improvised) and fantastically acted.

I also liked the beginning of the genre part. The mysterious client with his list. The weird Thank Yous Jay gets from the people he kills. The way he spirals out of control. The brilliant smack-down of the religious group in the restaurant.

And then it all gets out of control. The explanation doesn’t really explain anything. The religious sect doesn’t really make sense (though their Wicker Man masks are pretty cool). And the movie tries so hard to be provocative… that always spurs my contrarian side and bores me. And the ending with “The Hunchback” came out of nowhere. Honestly, A Serbian Film did that already – and they did it better (although the two films not only have their ending in common but also the fact that the first half is so much better than the second).

If the film hadn’t tried so hard to be edgy (and had given a little more explanations – I don’t mind trying to figure things out on my own but I do have to feel like it’s worth it), I think I might have quite liked it. But the ending just made my eyes roll too hard.

Summarising: I guess most people like it and the first two thirds are really good, so you can give it a go, at least if you’re not as bored by provocation as I am.


One thought on “Kill List (2011)

  1. Pingback: Sightseers (2012) « Stuff

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