Kill List

Kill List (2011)

Kill List (2011)

An out-of-work hitman teams up with his partner for another job, returning to the field after a botched job several months ago.  Given a list of three people to kill, each name on the list takes him a little deeper down the rabbit hole, leaving him first questioning what he’s doing and later questioning his sanity.

Faced with crippling debt and a nagging wife (MyAnna Buring), Jay (Neil Maskell) reluctantly accepts a contract job with his partner Gal (Michael Smiley).  They’re given the names of three people to kill.  The first man thanks Jay and although there were already some weird clues and foreshadowings, things only get weirder from there – things go completely off the rails with the third name on the list and the ending comes completely out of left field.

The acting is all top notch but the sound was a real distraction.  The minimalist score creates a great sense of dread, but in the third act it becomes darn near a character in its own right as it swells to ridiculous levels in a lazy attempt to build drama and then retreats to cue the viewer that it’s time to relax.  It’s obvious what the sound designer was doing, but it becomes a real distraction at times as you’re forced to either accept barely intelligible dialog or rattle the windows with a crescendo of sound.

This is a tough movie to review.  On the one hand, saying too much about it ruins it – it’s one of those movies that you’re better off going into “cold”.  On the other hand, with no background on the film, it’s easy to get lost as some of the clues are pretty subtle – enough to make you know that something is going on but not necessarily easy to figure out without some background.  That accessibility is probably of the biggest problem some people are going to have with the film – you’re either going to “get it” and like this movie or not get it and think it makes no sense.  When things get weird, most people are going to compare this to “The Wicker Man”, but it’s much closer to “Macbeth” as Jay falls deeper and deeper into insanity, losing himself and all of the reasons he had for doing this along the way.  Even viewed that way, though, the ending seems a bit forced.  This is a good movie that will challenge you, so you’re probably going to have to work at getting the most out of it.  If you’re just looking to be entertained, this won’t be for you.


Stars: 4/5



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