Kill Your Friends

"Weak"

Kill Your Friends Review


First-time director Owen Harris boldly attempts a comedy even blacker than American Psycho or Filth with this 1990s Britpop satire, but he never quite gets the tone right. Based on the bestselling novel by John Niven (who also wrote the screenplay), the film lacks a single character the audience can identify with or root for. And since it's impossible to care about the slimy anti-hero, the movie ends up merely feeling mean-spirited.

The slimeball at the centre is Steven (Nicholas Hoult), an A&R man at Unigram Records at the peak of Britpop in 1997. He's had a run of hot new artists, and doesn't let his loathing of pop music slow him down, tormenting his assistant Rebecca (Georgia King), his faithful scout Darren (Craig Roberts) and his matey colleague Roger (James Corden). He's also so determined to get a promotion that he takes things to violent extremes, then becomes even more annoyed when the job goes to his hated rival Antony (Tom Riley). So now all he has left is the search for another vile musician he can turn into the next big thing.

The film has a sleek, snaky energy to it that nicely recreates the cut-throat atmosphere of the period. And Niven has a lot to say about how the music business abuses truly talented artists while promoting inept stars like Steven's aspiring girl band Songbirds. Essentially, this film is a full-on assault on a British society where self-absorbed jerks climb the corporate ladder because they're ambitious, not because they're actually good at anything. The one sense of balance in the story comes from a cop (Edward Hogg), who's investigating a murder but really wants Steven to help him launch his own musical career. In other words, the film is shouting its themes at the top of its voice, rather than letting them hit the target with quiet precision.

It must be said that the actors are terrific at playing these reprehensible people. Hoult's performance is a tour-de-force depiction of a handsome sociopath who charms, controls and destroys everyone around him. And Hoult also reveals Steven's true self as a loser who knows he doesn't deserve any success he has achieved. The supporting roles are just as complex, so offer the surrounding cast a chance to shine. But this is Hoult's show, and Harris directs the film to echo Steven's sleek, nihilistic approach to life. Which leaves the audience utterly unable to connect with anything he does.

Watch the trailer for Kill Your Friends here:




Kill Your Friends

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 100 mins

In Theaters: Friday 6th November 2015

Production compaines: Altitude Film Entertainment, AI-Film, Unigram

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 17%
Fresh: 1 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Owen Harris

Producer: Gregor Cameron, Will Clarke

Starring: as Stelfox, as Darren, as Rebecca, Tom Riley as Parker-Hall, as Derek Sommers, as DC Woodham, as Waters, as Trellick, as Rent, Ella Smith as Nikki, as Rudi, as Barbara, as Bill, as Hasting, Damien Molony as Ross, Alannah Olivia as Suzy Songbird, Rosanna Hoult as Kate

Also starring:

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