Movie review: “Kill List”

By Columbus Alive
From the February 23, 2012 edition

“Kill List” is the cinematic equivalent of taking a big bite of straight wasabi. It’s not going to please everyone’s tastes and probably will leave your head spinning.

I like wasabi. And I really like “Kill List.” In both cases, not everyone will agree.

Jay (Neil Maskell) is a former hitman facing some financial issues when old friend and partner Gal (Michael Smiley) returns with an offer of a job.

Their client is shrouded in mystery, as are the identities of the soon-to-be-deceased they are given. Things unravel. Hilarity does not ensue.

Writer/director Ben Wheatley pops a dense and twisty flick that borrows from a wide array of sources. The parts will seem familiar. The whole will not.

He establishes engaging family and friend relationships. Then the killing starts — including a scene more shockingly brutal than that elevator scene in “Drive.”

There’s also a purposeful ambiguity to the film. I love when the events of a movie bleed offscreen without answers. Others may not.

Then there’s the matter of the third act, a true out-of-left-field turn that may leave even some who loved the setup feeling whiplash.

It’s been more than a week since I saw the film, and I’m still not sure whether I love or hate how it ends. But I sure haven’t forgotten it.

If you’re adventurous, I recommend you find out for yourself. You can hate me later.