Monday, February 27, 2012
KILL LIST (2011)
Directed by Ben Wheatley
Neil Maskell - Jay
MyAnna Burning - Shel
Michael Smiley -Gal
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.
While running this blog I've noticed something about my viewing of films and movies. I mean it's nothing that is noticeable from just someone reading as it seems like I do actually go through a lot of different type of films. The truth is I'm kinda picky for the movies I watch. Whenever a director or someone sends me a film to watch, I watch it with a certain amount of joy because they see what I do as a way to get their work noticed and I'm very happy to do so. Now more than when I started this I'm watching more different genre films than I ever have, while still going back through some older films I watched when I was younger. A film like Kill List I probably wouldn't have watched five years ago. Now today I have no problem watching it.
Neil Maskell, who portrays Jay, was actually quite compelling in the role. Maskell has to play a father and a parent out of work for an extended period of time. He has the same mounting problems as most people do these days as he has to worry about money and finding a job as it slowly eats away at him. As a parent Jay is very caring and loves his son, yet as a husband the strain of thinning money is causing cracks and rifts on his marriage which forces him to take a job to kill three people with his friend. Maskell for the first half of the movie does a good job, yet it's when his character goes back to work does Maskell truly show his acting ability. Michael Smiley, who play Gal, though is the true star of the film. The reason why I say this is due to that his acting is more subdued yet in a way more powerful. Gal as a character seems like someone who doesn't like his job, yet does it due to he's good at it even though the years of doing it has taken it's toll on him mentally and Smiley shows this openly. The difference between Gal and Maskell is easily visible as Gal is more reserved compared to Maskell who is more of loose cannon which makes watching how the two interact interesting which also keeps the story moving.
I'm going to talk about the actual story now and there will be spoilers but I will not give away what happens at the end as to do so will ruin it which I don't want to do. I went into a little bit about Jay and Gal before but it's when they both go out the first assassination that we get to see how the two depend on each other more and how their relationship is stronger than with their significant others which drives the story more than anything else. Now I should mention that the first 40 minutes of the film is showing the characters in their everyday life. The ups and downs are shown without making it look like they live glamorous lives, which they don't. It shows that Jay might have a drug problem and his wife is very unhappy but still stays with him for what he was and might still be. It's when the first killing takes place you find out that something isn't quite right with the job they have taken. Though it gets really weird when the second killing happens. You find out that the people Jay and Gal are sent to kill know they are coming yet neither one puts up much of a struggle to prevent theirselves from being killed. Instead they tell Jay "Thank you." This to me is just put me on edge while watching Kill List and it also made the movie take a turn in a completely different direction than it was going in. I won't go any further into the story than that as not to spoil anything. But the one big complaint I do have against the film is the story also as it leaves to much unexplained including what happened in Kiev which sets the whole story in motion. You know things went wrong there, but not what, and that bugged me throughout the whole movie.
Ben Wheatley does a good job of directing. He keeps the camera tight when it's called for and loose when you least expect it. This gives the film a disjointed feeling that adds to the feel of the movie and how things move. During certain times in the movie it almost feels like a found footage film though it still is in third person which adds a sense of unease to the whole film during the second half. The sound though is another problem I have with the film as the first half it's almost impossible to make out half of what is said when the characters are trying to be established. Also at certain times for no reason at all the background music swells to drown out all other sound which almost kills some scenes in the movie. Thankfully those sound swells die down very quickly. All around Kill List is a tense watch even with it's flaws in story and sound. The feel of the film is built up by the intrigue to find out what exactly is going on which isn't handled very well and the film does lose that momentum due to a major plot hole that comes into effect full force at the end of the movie.
The vertex bashing of the librarian.
The film is also known as Uma Lista a Abater in Portugal.
Director Ben Wheatley has a segment in the ABCs Of Death due out later this year.
Maskell's film career began in 1997 with an appearance as "Schmuddie" in Gary Oldman's writing and directorial debut Nil By Mouth.
The film cost about £500,000 to make.