Kill Your Friends

Thursday, March 24 @ 7:45pm  |  Brattle Theatre

2015 | UK | 102 minutes
Directors: Owen Harris
Screenwriters: John Niven (based on his novel)
Cast: Nicholas Hoult, James Corden, Georgia King, Rosanna Arquette

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London. 1997. Britpop is in full swing. Bands like Blur, Suede and the cocaine hoovers called Oasis are topping the charts, just before the likes of Robbie Williams and the Spice Girls drove a stake through the heart of Cool Britannia. It is in this setting that we meet our anti-hero Steven Stelfox, a record executive with a blisteringly fatalistic attitude about his chosen profession. “Do these look like the shoes of someone who gives a fuck about the Velvet Underground?” he sneers just before pissing on his passed out colleague.

Stelfox’s Machiavellian take on the industry is as cynical as it is misanthropic. “Nobody has a fucking clue,” he’ll profess while opining about how he and the rest of the musical tastemakers “put the ‘um’ and ‘ah’ in A&R.” In this ruthless world, Stelfox will do everything possible to both keep his job and advance his position including emotional manipulation, blackmail and even murder, in this blacker-than-pitch comedy.

One could dismiss Kill Your Friends as American Psycho with a better soundtrack (one scene seems to replace a Huey Lewis rant with one about Paul Weller). And while similarities between the two films are inescapable, such as frequent breaking of the fourth wall and sudden violence, this film cuts much deeper when it comes to satire of a superficial time period. Stelfox’s motives are not pathological like Patrick Bateman’s; serial killers might be rare, but people like Stelfox exist in almost every industry. Kill Your Friends’ cold, black heart is fueled by a mischievously funny screenplay by John Niven, adapting his own novel, veteran television director Owen Harris (Skins, Black Mirror) providing the antisocial tone and lead actor Nicholas Hoult as Stelfox, adding a modicum of charisma to a thoroughly slimy character

– Kevin Monahan


Jerry Pyle, 2 min.

When trust exercises go awry. We’re way beyond the “fall and I’ll catch you” games here.