Friday, November 14, 2014

Kill List (2011)

Director: Ben Wheatley

Writers: Ben Wheatley, Amy Jump

Composer: Jim Williams

Starring: Neil Maskell, MyAnna Buring, Harry Simpson, Michael Smiley, Emma Fryer, Struan Radger, Esme Foley, Ben Compton, Gemma Lise Thornton, Robin Hill, Gareth Tunley, Robert Hill

More info: IMDb

Tagline: They are bad people.  They should suffer.

Plot: Nearly a year after a botched job, a hitman takes a new assignment with the promise of a big payoff for three killings. What starts off as an easy task soon unravels, sending the killer into the heart of darkness.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.

I didn't know it until after I watched the picture and checked out the IMDb page but there's a reason why writer/director Ben Wheatley's name looked familiar, he directed several episodes of IDEAL (2005-2011), a show I have all kinds of love for.  It makes sense now, too, that there are two familiar cast members of that show in this film, Emma Fryer and Ben "I'm on probation" Compton.  I thought the acting in this film was great.  I couldn't find a weak link among the cast.  The score was moody and did a fine job of stringing along the eerie vibe.  The story was pretty good, too, but it's the execution of it all that kept this from being the home run I was hoping it would be.  Once the film shifts from crime to horror you can't help but compare it to A SERBIAN FILM (2010) (and THE WICKER MAN (1973) to a lesser extent) and in not just a couple of ways.  There's a lot of similarity between the two.  I'm not going to compare them because my reviews of each take care of themselves.  Does the shift work here?   Yeah, but the impact of what's happening isn't nearly as effective as it should have been.  This might be a case where style over substance (in a sense) hurts the film.  There's plenty of substance but the wildly moving camera and time-saving edits (you'll know what I mean if you've seen this already) draw attention to themselves and not in a good way.  It works for the early Guy Ritchie pictures as it really amped up the comedy and fun but here it gets to be a distraction rather than an enhancement.  I really want to like this picture enough to maybe give it another go around but I don't think that's going to happen which is a shame since I feel like it deserves a second chance.  Maybe someday.  In the meantime I'm looking forward to seeing some of Wheatley's other work.

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