Kill List

The one 35mm film screened at the Dark Bridges Film Fest 2012 was British hitman movie Kill List which was screend Friday night.  First off, what a difference to see it on film vs the digital projections of the other movies, it was night and day, digital still has a way to go before it can hold a candle to film.  I’d actually read about this one prior to the festival and had heard it was getting quite a bit of critical praise, although the review I read wasn’t so enamoured with it.  My opinion lies somewhere in the middle. Thankfully I forgot about any of the specifics of what I'd read so none of the twists were ruined for me.

The film follows this guy who’s been moping around in his house and in constant screaming matches with his wife (who by the way seems way too hot for this guy to have been able to marry, cuz he’s sort of a pudgy pasty English dude).  They have a son together, and she’s pissed because they’re running out of money and he hasn’t worked in over 6 months.  Everytime they fight, they end up apologizing to the boy, who tells them they shouldn’t yell at each other, and then they seem to get along again until the wife says something to piss off the husband and they fly off the handle again. 

Apparently he’d gone through some sort of botched job and was having emotional problems as a result, although he kept using the excuse of throwing his back out.  The odd thing is that in this movie, the wife knows he’s a hit man and she wants him to get out of his funk and start killing people for a living again so that they can afford to fix the Jacuzzi, take care of their kiddo and throw dinner parties with expensive wine and shit. Not the norm in most films I don't think.

The first part of the movie focuses quite a bit on this rather toxic yo-yo family dynamic, but then when he meets an old Irish buddy who’s also in the biz, he gets offered a seemingly sweet deal of a job where they’ll both make a mint by taking out a few targets for some shady businessmen types.  At this same dinner party the chick his partner brings with him goes into the bathroom, and for some odd reason takes the mirror off of the wall and carves some weird symbol into the back of it (you can sorta see it in the poster above).  It kinda reminded me of the symbol that cult used in the later Halloween films. 

From there, they take the job, and progressively more bizarre and sinister shit starts happening which culminates in one of the biggest “what the fuck?” endings I’ve seen lately.  The film fest programmer said the best way to see the movie is to go in blind (no trailers or anything), and that the twists will definitely come as a surprise, which they certainly did for me (for once shitty memory comes in handy, yay!).  The negative review I read said they weren’t all that surprising for reasons that made sense, but I didn’t really pick up on them I guess.  Part of that I frankly blame on the fact that I had a fairly hard time picking up all of the dialogue.  This is a British film which I don’t normally have any issues with, but all of the acting is done in a very loose, improvised style which means there’s a HEAVY amount of British and Irish slang and characters often mumble or talk at the same time.  It certainly makes the movie feel more real, but I should mention this since it could be a turn off for many.  Subtitles might’ve even been helpful as stupid as I feel for saying it.

I dug on the fact that the movie really deglamorizes the hitman lifestyle.  Most movies always make these guys out to be invincible pros who never miss and have ninja stealth skills and shit, which is fine, but I liked how these guys seemed just like two blue collar joes who’s occupation just happens to be whacking motherfuckers.
I expected this to be more of a hitman drama or crime thriller, but as the movie progresses things just seem very off, bizarre and quite unsettling to the point where I think this falls more into horror film territory.  So if you’re expecting something like Snatch this is most definitely NOT your movie.

I’m not going to say I absolutely loved this movie, but I am going to say it keeps your interest the whole time as these two guys plunge deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole so to speak.  Now that I’m writing about it I kinda feel like checking it out again, so maybe this one’s a grower.  It’s definitely worth checking out.  I suspect the ending may make some people want to throw up the middle finger at the screen, but I will give it that it has balls.

Watch this one alone, late at night, with all the lights turned out for maximum creepage, it’s good shit!