Kill List (2011)
Updated: Jul 31, 2019
This is the kind of bleak film that can only be made in Britain. In the way that Scandinavian cinema gives us desaturated cinematic vistas, Britain thrives on kitchen sink drama and folklore, here mixed with a dark uneasy humour and graphic violence. It’s the way it’s put together though, with a subtle roughness, an honesty, all the unrequited shine buffed out. Anything called Kill List, you know is not going to end well, but it’s how you get there and the chemistry between all the cast is thick, deep, dirty, to the point that it gets to you as it builds and unravels. I really wasn’t taken to start with, the first act left me cold, the vile characters had me struggling to find any attachment and the mundanity of it all left a troubling unease in my bones. It’s scarily simple, ordinary, familiar, but it’s not an easy watch by a long stretch, in fact there’s scenes here amongst some of the most brutal I’ve ever seen anywhere. Neil Maskell (brilliant in Utopia) plays a killer, one with a vigilante inner voice, whilst trying to be a family man. He plays quiet catatonic calm and untethered psychotic equally well, as his two worlds collide. It’s disturbing and increasingly disorientating, as the bleak mundane makes way for the creeping psychosis. It’s not a film I can say I enjoyed or even liked, but for a dark, tense and twisted, violent thriller, it hits the bloody mark square between the eyes and in the final act takes an unexpected twist that will stay with me for some time.