The less you know beforehand, the better, but know that Jay (Neil Maskell, Atonement, Doghouse) is stricken by immense stress. Struggling under the grips of the recession has placed his marriage to Shel (MyAnna Buring, The Descent, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1) on shaky ground, and their verbal disagreements dampen the spirits of their young son.
It doesn’t help that Jay hasn’t worked a day in eight months. Then his best pal, Gal (Michael Smiley, Burke and Hare, TV’s Luther), drafts him back into their assassin trade with a high-paying gig of taking out three people who have done very bad things: a priest, a “librarian” and an MP — that stands for “member of Parliament,” not “military policeman.”
For the film’s whole, an ominous vibe cloaks the proceedings, as director and co-writer Ben Wheatley (Down Terrace) puts the pot of water on low heat to let it creep to the inevitable point of boiling over. Questions are posed that he doesn’t necessarily always answer, but purposely doles out enough info that you can fill in the blanks — take note of that, Damon Lindelof!
People commit ugly, atrocious acts in rich, beautiful colors, so there’s real art to this suspense. None of that would mean squat if this also weren’t exceedingly well-acted by the three leads, none of whom treat the material as genre trash. Wheatley firmly establishes himself as a filmmaker of immense promise, and Kill List as a potential classic of assassination cinema. Either way, love it or hate it, you won’t soon shake it. Oh, that ending! —Rod Lott