Director : Ben Wheatley:
Starring : Neil Maskell, MyAnna Buring, Michael Smiliey, Struan Rodger UK. 1h 35m.
Synopsis: Nearly a year after a botched job, a hit man 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.
Nearly a year after a disastrous job; a hitman Jay (Maskel) and his trusty sidekick Gal (Smilie) take on a new assignment with the promise of a big payoff for a mere three killings. What begins as an effortless task soon unravels; sending the killers on a wild psychological roller coaster.
Kill List opens as a fairly mundane drama set around a dysfunctional and violent couple and a quiet often ignored son. Gradually the plot descends into bloody gore, shrewd psychological disturbances, occult and a healthy lashing of “thrill kill”.
It encapsulates the downward spiral of a semi retired hitman, We being to feel sympathy for Jay, his mission in Kiev and now potters around his house imagining himself as having a bad back, pissing off his spouse Shel (Burning) and the two constantly switch between love and hateful outbursts over Jay’s inactivity and the families poor financial situation. The pace starts to sharpen once Jay finds a new contract and a mysterious character known simply as The Client (Rogers) offers the duo a 3 person kill list during an unsettling meeting in a hotel.
At this point the pair start to drift apart as Jay starts to rage more and loses control and his grip on reality and the walls close in.
The screenplay is very characteristic of Wheatly/Jump’s style of film like Sightseers (2012) and Down Terrace (2009). Filmed in a similar manner of a fly on the wall documentary, the cinematography follows suit with shaky cam and close ups, zooming in on the graphic violent scenes, all of this is backed up with raw and unprepared script sporadic soundtrack, sometimes holding up and allowing space for deep personal scenes.
The acting is brilliant, it looks very realistic which is the entire angle of this movie, its main point of driving home the message that this could happen to anyone is to see it happening to people you can easily identify with. It feels as if Wheatley is bringing this story to the viewer. trying to force them to digest everything for themselves. This identification with the main cast helps pull you into the movie. Suddenly Jay isn’t James Bond, he’s doing what you would in that situation, but when he starts going off the rails does this mean you could also. For an example when Jay and Gal find some disturbing videos, Gal is very passive and Jay goes off all half cocked, which is what most people would do in his place but would they really press it as hard as him?
Wheatly and Jump work together so well, constantly they are producing characters that could live on your street but who have this dark and sinister backgrounds. The quiet family down the street are revealed as trained killers and yet blend seamlessly, everyone has a hidden face, everyone is hiding a secret.
With its raw and uncompromising dialogue, Kill List hits hard, it’s raw with a gloomy undercurrent, you have no where to hide. Combining the difficult family drama such as Once Were Warriors (1994) with a brutal hitman action movie and topping it off with constantly surreal occult references the melting pot is set to dish up a curious and unique movie.
Rating : 9/10
R: Sightseers (2012), A Field in England (2013) Devil Rides Out (1968) Borderlands/Final Prayer (2013), Rosemarys Baby (1968)
Q: Gal “I fucking hate dirty soap”
BS: Some of the most realistic blood is scene in the hotel scene when Jay gets his hand cut. The brutal killing of he Librarian is very gruesome ans violent!
OST: Nb. Sharksong used in tunnel chase.
List: Selected Occult Movies, Hitmen Movies, Modern British Thrillers
Spotlight: Ben Wheatley, Michael Smiliey, Neil Maskell