By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) –
I didn’t know a whole lot about this film before I watched it, outside of the fact that it was a British thriller which had been earning rave reviews since it debuted. Some of the recommendations sounded like dubious pull quotes from off the cover of shitty bargain bin DVDs, except they come from reviewers I trust. So as soon as I get a hold of a copy it shot to the top of my ‘To Watch’ list.
The movie follows a pair of hitmen as they work their way down a hit or ‘kill’ list given to them by a shadowy rich man. They, and their families, get drawn into a bizarre plot in which nothing is quite what it seems.
Okay, this is probably exactly what it seems
Sounds like a plot with a lot of potential, right? For a good portion of the film it chugs right along in a way that seems like it will fulfill that. No answers are volunteered easily, but enough clues are strewn about to keep you intrigued and build tension like a steam engine with a broken pressure gauge. Director Ben Wheatley does a great job of creating a surreal atmosphere full of unsettling touches that nibble away in the back of the minds of characters and audience alike.
When it comes to let off a bit of that built-up steam, Wheatley doesn’t hold back. He takes the gore to ‘holy shit!’ levels of graphicness that may put you off Spaghetti O’s for days.
Or a meal or two anyway. They’re too damn delicious.
One thing that would have helped the film just a bit more would have been comprehensible dialogue. Calling what’s coming out of their mouths English is like saying Nickelback plays music. Sure, technically you’re correct, but that doesn’t make it any more intelligible or any less grating.
I’ll address the end in a second, and if you haven’t seen it yet you’ll just have to take this beer for granted. It goes to the fact that the whole ‘Kill List’ conceit ends up being a entirely unnecessary. There had to be more efficient ways to lure your bait into the trap, particularly when you already have a key player at your beck and call. Once you know the upshot of the whole film, you’ll look back at the majority of the plot and find that it makes even less sense.
Oh man, this is going well. Like, this feels so, so good. Okay, picking up the pace, hell yeah, that’s more like it, now. we’re. getting. somewhere. Thisisgoingtobesogood ooohhhh…
… fuck! Just, fuck. Are you kidding me? That’s it?
The ending, ripe to bursting.
This is the anti-Take Shelter. Well-produced and well-acted, but an absolute faceplant of an ending makes you forget all that.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time a couple gets into a fight
Take a Drink: every time Jay overreacts with violence
Drink a Shot: if you feel the urge to vomit (that should help!)
Drink a Shot: for cinematic blue balls