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Kill Your Friends


Stars: Nicholas Hoult, Tom Riley, Craig Roberts, Georgia King, James Corden, Edward Hogg, Ed Skrein, Rosanna Arquette, Ella Smith

Director: Owen Harris

A vicious, bloodsoaked satire on the pop music industry, set in the 1990s and introduced by your host and anti-hero, Steven Stelfox (Hoult at his most hyper), a heartless sharpster who will stop at nothing to reach the top of his record company's A & R department.

In between meetings to find the next big thing on the music scene, debauchery is the prime object of an A & R man's R & R. Nothing succeeds, it seems, like excess. 'Drugs, alcohol, peer pressure and fear,' Steven describes his life. 'And none of us has a clue what we're doing.'

His motto in life is 'Drive your enemies before you and hear the lamentations of their women' and when cocaine junkie Roger (Corden) is mysteriously recommended for the position Steven covets, Stelfox attempts to strangle him after a coke marathon, than batters him to death.

An outsider (Riley) brought in to head up A & R; a blackmailing secretary (King); and a Columbo-style detective (Hogg) on the trail of our 'hero'; Steven has answers to them all that mark him out as the sanest of madmen.

This is charnel-house humour of the blackest kind and yet, despite the excess of blood, nudity and (extreme) bad language in which it wallows, the film seems like a throwback to an earlier era, when, for better or worse, the permissive cinema found its voice. Best seen after a stiff drink or two, the film will amuse some and appal others.

David Quinlan

UK 2015. UK Distributor: StudioCanal. Colour by Panalux.
103 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 3, Swearing 3.

Review date: 03 Nov 2015