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Kill List (2011)

Griity, hard-edged, super-violent? Well yes. It's safe to level all of these superlatives at Ben Wheatley's Kill List. A script 'knocked out' (to use Wheatley's own phrase) in a Christmas holiday cottage and shot in a mere three weeks in Yorkshire.


Now, for those of you that have already seen it, it would be hard to deny that the film is far from subtle and Wheatley rarely goes in the direction you would expect here. The scenes are, by design, fragmented, even jumpy. Confined spaces when filming indoors gave the film an overbearing quality that made some of the scenes genuinely unsettling all by themselves, regardless of what was being shown on screen. A film that, without the score, would have lacked a certain something in the telling, which Wheatley himself has been the first to admit.


There are some greats scenes, with or without the score, however, and a fair few that may pass the viewer by at first glance, so it is definitely worth viewing more than once for this reason alone. The acting by all is excellent as you would expect for what is a simple, tight, bared down script. The drapes match the carpet here and no scene is wasted. If anything, I would have liked to have seen a little more of the film, suggesting that at a smidgen over ninety minutes, it may leave some people feeling slightly short-changed, given the ending.


In all, great work from Wheatley with this follow up from Down Terrace. What starts as something you might expect from an early Guy Ritchie effort becomes something else after about an hour and you do stop and wonder if this will really work and can he get away with it. If you suspend your disbelief just a little, then you won't be disappointed. Personally this didn't end up as the film I went in to see, but nonetheless, it is a ride I still enjoyed.

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