Here are a list of things I don’t particularly like in films: Nicholas Hoult, James Corden, Ed Skrein, films set in England, films about the music industry, and the 90’s being long enough ago that it’s now considered the past in movies. So, here we have a English film about the music industry, set in the mid 90’s, starring Nicholas Hoult, with a supporting cast that features James Corden and Ed Skrein. And I really liked it.
Kill Your Friends is the story of Steven Stelfox, an A&R man (Artists and Repertoire for those that don’t know, or as my friends in the industry call them, A**holes and Ripoffs) working during the britpop era of the British music industry, who’s prepared to go to extreme lengths to get what he wants.
This film is a masterclass in black comedy, and I think a lot of that credit needs to go to the source material, John Niven’s novel of the same name, but I also want to mention director Owen Harris. Yes, he had great characters to work with, but he perfectly handled both the funny moments, which had me laughing and wincing in equal measure, but also the less pleasant moments extremely well (the film very much earns it’s 18 rating).
So, the three actors I mentioned earlier… they were all excellent, and perhaps it’s because they’re playing against type. Nicholas Hoult is perfectly suited to the amoral, American Psycho-esque lead character (that comparison is hard to avoid), Ed Skrein is perfect as the creepy, money hungry record producer, and James Corden suits the witless, bumbling supporting role.
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