Kill Your Friends - This Rock Movie Nearly Rocks
Dir: Owen Harris
Starring Nicholas Hoult, Tom Riley, Craig Roberts, James Corden, Rosanna Arquette
Former A&R man John Niven adapts his own cult novel about a then-current A&R man facing up to the lost days of the post Britpop hangover, who decides to take a leaf out of Brett Easton-Ellis to secure his perilous future. It’s 1997 and late at the party, but it’s still drugs, sex cigarettes and alcohol – and very rarely rock and roll – for Stephen Stelfox (Hoult.) And whilst Kill Your Friends is by no means a solid movie, it does feature a very solid performance from its lead, Nicholas Hoult, who manages to be remarkably charismatic, despite playing such a venal figure. Like many pop music based movies though, it’s never as authentic as it wants to be – some of the dialogue, especially early on, is decidedly ropey – but it does capture some of the atmosphere of the day (and even manages a slight dig as the future of Simon Cowell - not a bad thing.)
One of the other strengths of the movie is a gone all too quickly supporting turn from James Corden – another reminder of how the man shouldn’t be lost to a talk show. Craig Roberts also impresses as Stelfox’s initially genuine protégé. And the soundtrack is also well chosen (great to hear Beetbum blaring out once again.)
But despite fine intentions, the film suffers from the obvious influence of American Pyshco, something it emulates but never comes close to matching. (Strange how that once derided film is now hailed in nearly all quarters.) It’s not as satirical as it wants to be, not as unpleasant as it strives to be and, to be blunt, not enough friends get killed.
But it has Hoult, which is no small thing, even if it is ultimately – to use its own references – definitely more Menswear than Oasis.
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