Kill Your Friends Blu-ray Review
I’m not the first, and I certainly won’t be the last, person to compare KILL YOUR FRIENDS to AMERICAN PSYCHO. Without even looking, I know that the obvious comparison has been made before. That’s how much of a case Bret Easten Ellis has if he ever decided to file a copyright lawsuit. While some may view my original statement as a compliment, I didn’t like AMERICAN PSYCHO. I found it to be an overconceptualized mess that was more focused on the bloody brutality than with subtly conveying its message. As far as satires go, AMERICAN PSYCHO was overhyped. KILL YOUR FRIENDS is the same thing, but instead of a wonderful performance by Christian Bale, we have a so-so performance by Nicholas Hoult.
Hoult plays Steve Stelfox, who’s a part of the artists and repertoire (A&R) section of the British record label he works for. Blur, Oasis, and The Verve rule the musical landscape and the music industry is still living fat off the CD and Vinyl land. Steve is just like the cold, callous music industry. He views his colleagues in a low light and refers to them by negative superlatives in his own internal monologue. But unlike Bale’s character in AMERICAN PSYCHO, Steve’s musings on the industry and life aren’t interesting or enlightening.
His reflections and insights into the industry aren’t anything new. The entertainment industry is cutthroat. That may not be common knowledge, but you get the gist from the get-go of KILL YOUR FRIENDS. The only problem is that the movie hammers home that message throughout, and at one point literally cuts someone’s throat. The movie also fails on the comedic home front by setting the early tone that Steve is not likeable and neither is anyone else in this movie.
Shows like DEXTER show that the American public can empathize with a killer or someone who lacks basic human emotions, but Steve is almost worse than a serial killer. He’s self-absorbed without reason and his power hungry nature has no rhyme or reason. While there are moments where his internal monologues provide some amusing moments, overall Steve’s mind seems to be a bitter world without the smallest hints of entertaining sadistic joy.
Writer John Niven also wrote the book for KILL YOUR FRIENDS and translated his work for the screen. It’s easier to craft a more complex and deeper mind in a book, so I’m not going to judge his paperback work. However, he may have lost himself in the concept that a movie requires visual evidence of how we should feel about our characters. Steve simply watches everything happen and even when he lashes out, his facial expressions seem mute, showing nothing in terms of what he’s thinking or feeling as he murders or beats someone to a bloody pulp. While the dialogue may be a clue, Hoult’s one-note performance offers no indications.
The authenticity of the movie’s view of the industry is up for debate and seemingly unimportant when all is said and done. Its attempt at satire falls on deaf ears because there is no wit behind the violence and cynicism. It’s simply boorish and mean-spirited. It’s easy to empathize with someone who points out the universal flaws as they mix charm with their sophistication, but Steve is an unsympathetic sociopath. KILL YOUR FRIENDS is so bad; I may have to give AMERICAN PSYCHO another spin. I might actually find myself appreciating Patrick Bateman’s witticisms more.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) The movie is constantly drenched with splashes of dark neon colors and the blue glow of nightclubs. KILL YOUR FRIENDS does have a noir look to it at times and the wonderful color scheme is highlight on a blu-ray with no issues.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) It’s easy to get lost in a soundtracks blast beats, especially one that focuses on the music industry. This blu-ray is well balanced though and doesn’t allow itself to get lost in the pulsating music.
Interviews: There are five interviews altogether and they can be chosen individually. The interviews are Nicholas Hoult, James Corden, Craig Roberts, Owen Harris (the director) and John Niven (the writer). The more interesting interviews are lengthier, like Hoult, Harris, and Niven. But none of these interviews provide insight into why this movie was such a tonal failure since the interviewees seem so confident in their work.