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Kill Your Friends Review


Based on the book of the same name by John Niven, Kill Your Friends pitches itself as the next American Psycho or The Wolf of Wall Street with the tale of Steven Stelfox (Nicholas Hoult), an A&R man for a London based record company in 1997, the height of the Britpop craze. Far more concerned with making money that producing good music, Stelfox has to watch from the sidelines as his colleges find success with signing fledgling bands, drowning his sorrows with copious amounts of booze and drugs. Taking a line from Conan the Barbarian as his business motto, he decides enough is enough and sets in motion a series of devious plans to finally get the glory and recognition he thinks he deserves.

As with the movies it is clearly trying to be, excess is the name of the game, but being as offensive as you can be will only get you so far. Kill Your Friends really falls at the first hurdle, because to get an audience behind a character as egotistical and amoral as Stelfox, you have to make his world and goals attractive. Instead, we open in a dingy apartment with one of Stelfox’s colleagues (James Corden) off his head on a cocktail of drugs and attempting to eat a CD. Shocking? Yes. Glamorous? No. And that’s really the tone the movie sticks with for its 103 minute runtime, with Stelfox’s ever present, expletive ridden narration geared to shock the audience when whatever debauched act happening onscreen fails to do so. Admittedly, it works for a time, but when Kill Your Friends hits the halfway point, you find yourself immune to yet another drug fuelled rant or joke about rapists. or Aids. Or the Holocaust. The script, also written by Niven, provides some well aimed shots at the music industry, but despite some House of Cards style flourishes, it feels a bit too generic. With the finale in sight, Niven and director Owen Harris muddy the narrative even further with some ill advised flashbacks, and the ending just feels sloppy and unearned.

With the actor pretty much present in every scene, this is Hoult’s movie, and he does a good job of playing a memorable, greed fuelled bastard. Ignoring recent roles like The Beast in the X-Men movie or Jack in Jack the Giant Slayer, we haven’t seen him play a character like this since t.v. show Skins, and he is clearly having an absolute blast. Whenever the movie begins to lose steam, he turns on the swagger and commands your attention for another few minutes. The rest of the cast don’t fare as well, most of the time just being there for Hoult to act against.

While Hoult makes a good stab at being this generations Patrick Bateman, the movie built around him falls down by being offensive just for the sake of being offensive.


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The Movie Bit: Kill Your Friends Review
Kill Your Friends Review
The Movie Bit
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