Sunday, 10 November 2013

Kill List

Kill List – Ben Wheatley – Two ex military (contemporary war in Iraq context) and now part-time hitmen are hired on a job that begins to ensnare them, leading to a spiralling and unhinged exploration of violence and character.  A chapter heading prefigures each killing and gradually an emergent political commentary/allegory suggests itself. A dark and intelligently disturbing satire on the state of Britain is twinned with a playful relation to cinema genres.  The crime/thriller genre is exposed and contorted to reveal its intimacy with horror, employing oppressive atmosphere and uncomfortably mounting dread. The impressively tangible dread begins in domestic tension, is encouraged by a brooding and menacing soundtrack and willed on by a convincingly psychotic performance by Neil Maskell as ‘Jay’. All of this escalates, with increasing and unflinching moments of violence (a certain scene, involving liberal use of a hammer, is a very tough watch), until we reach a nightmarish climax that recalls The Wicker Man (or something similarly pagan and sinister). The film’s very last sequence is devastating, further warping the potential for what the film is, and how it should be interpreted. I was left with a queasy and churning adrenaline, by the end of the film its atmosphere has become a physiological experience: oppressive and shocking. An admirably powerful film which artfully combines terrific performances, inventive socio-political commentary and intensity, with an agile interrogation of cinematic genre. 9/10

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