TIFF’11 Review: Kill List

September 22, 2011 — 3 Comments

I have had a hard time coming to terms with Kill List. It’s a very well made film, with great production values and some very good acting. But for the majority of the film it is also fairly inert. There is little to attach to emotionally, the plot is mostly uninteresting, and the hints at something larger going on get mostly lost in the shuffle. That is, until the last act of the film, which is a piece of bravura horror filmmaking. If only the rest of the film held that level entertainment.

The main plot of Kill List follows two hitmen taking on a job, whacking a list of terrible people. This section of the film, as I’ve said, is fairly well made in every way, except for the fact that it’s quite boring. The two actors have a good rapport, but nothing is really added to the film because of it. It’s all just stale, to the point where I had trouble staying awake.

And then the last act comes in. I won’t begin to spoil what happens, except to say that it’s scary and fucked up. The ending of the film left me reeling, and momentarily I actually thought the film was kind of brilliant.

I quickly came to my senses and realized that Kill List as a whole is problemati. Most of it is simply not engaging at all. That last act is amazing, but it also comes about with almost no relation to the rest of the film, save for a few clues throughout. I would say that the film is worth watching if only to get to that ending, but it’s a tough call. Is the slow burn really worth the trouble? Only barely.


3 responses to TIFF’11 Review: Kill List


    Great read but I think I liked the film a bit more than you Corey. Although the characters aren’t the most likable people in the world I was drawn in and continually engaged by the protagonist’s wavering mental state. I liked the references, I liked the fact it reminded also of recent Brit horrors like Dead Man’s Shoes and Eden Lake, while, as you mention, the ending is suitably horrific.


      I have to admit that I was extremely tired when I watched the film, and though I didn’t fall asleep or anything, I probably wasn’t as alert as I should have been. Kill List is definitely one I plan on rewatching when I get the chance.

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  1. TIFF’11: The Great Wrap-Up! « justAtad - September 23, 2011

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