KILL YOUR FRIENDS (18)
KILL YOUR FRIENDS (18)
Run time: 103mins
Director: Owen Harris
Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Craig Roberts, James Corden, Tom Riley, Joseph Mawle, Georgia King
Synopsis: London, 1997; the British Music Industry is on a winning streak. 27-year-old A&R man Steven Stelfox is slashing and burning his way through the music business, where careers are made and broken by chance and the fickle tastes of the general public. Fuelled by greed and ambition, Stelfox lives the dream, as he searches for his next hit record. But as the hits dry up and the industry begins to change, Stelfox takes the concept of “killer tunes” to a murderous new level in a desperate attempt to salvage his career.
Adapted from music industry insider John Niven’s cult novel, this pitch-black, venal portrait of the hard-partying, morally bankrupt world of 90s pop is the debut feature of Owen Harris, director of television shows Black Mirror (2013), Misfits (2010), Secret Diary of a Call Girl (2007), Skins (2007) and The Gamechangers (2015)
Nicholas Hoult stars as unscrupulous Britpop-era talent spotter Steven Stelfox in this scabrous music biz satire. In 1997, there’s no cooler place to be than London. With Britpop reaching its zenith, and Blur and Oasis riding the Cool Britannia wave, the greedy, cynical, satanic, 27-year-old A&R man Stelfox will stop at nothing to find the next hit. Misanthropic and cocksure, this drug-addled music business fixer despises his boss (James Corden) more than anyone. But just how far is he prepared to go to advance his career?
It’s hard to care about the loathsome Stelfox or any of his victims and the revelation that in the ‘90s people in the music business were interested only in money and not art is hardly earth shattering.
Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road, 2015; Warm Bodies, 2013; X-Men: Days of Future Past, 2014; A Single Man, 2009) dominates the screen with his performance as the sardonic, twisted, Machiavellian Stelfox. Music fans will enjoy the well observed, black comedy send-ups of the era’s most popular genres.
For a final verdict on the film, one is tempted to steal and paraphrase Woody Allen’s Diane Arbus joke from Manhattan (1979): Kill Your Friends feels like American Psycho – with none of the wit.
Images courtesy of Studio Canal