The phrase British Gangster Movie is enough to fill one with dread – it instantly fills you with images of post-Ritchie psychos in a 90 minute gunfest filled with British no ones and girls who have been in Eastenders for five minutes battling it out over a soundtrack of Ocean Colour Scene.
Kill List is very different; it is a dark adventure which for the first half at least is closer to Mike Leigh than it is to Guy Ritchie. It revolves around best friends taking on a new job to help pay for the Jacuzzi and other things they’ve got used to since giving it all up eight months ago to try and be family men. This proves very difficult as the more on edge of the two begins to shout at his wife, wreck dinner parties and spend his time hiding out in the garage with only alcohol and cigarettes for company.
This job seems very easily, kill three people, no questions asked and plenty of rewards given. Of course, it soon starts to go wrong as emotions fray and blood gets spilled, not only that of the trio that are supposed to die.
Kill List has a brilliant script and great performances all round. There is the odd scene of violence but it’s made all the more real by the fact that you KNOW the killers rather than following faceless assassins. Things only go a little wrong when the director decides that he wants to create a new Wicker Man in the last ten minutes and suddenly you seem to be viewing a completely different piece where its modern feel is swapped for an ancient feel of shady groups and sacrifices, completely different to what has gone before, breaking the spell that you were previously under. It’s not enough to wreck the movie but it is enough to stop Kill List being the stone cold dark classic the first hour suggests.