‘Do these look like the shoes of somebody who gives a fuck about the Velvet Underground?’
Kill Your Friends aims to combine the murderous nihilism of American Psycho, the music of 24 Hour Party People and hedonistic drug fuelled madness of Human Traffic into something greater than the sum of its parts. Whilst it borrows aspects from all those mentioned as well as from Tarantino, Scorsese and the work of Irvine Welsh, the finished product is messy and somehow, quite boring at times.
The first problem with setting a film during the excess of Britpop, is that no fictional story could ever compare to what was actually going on at Factory Records and Creation Records (home of Joy Division and Oasis respectively) and elsewhere. Secondly the music from that era has become so iconic that it has already been used as a backdrop for loads of films and TV shows already, most notably the far superior Trainspotting. Aside from the (mostly predictable) soundtrack, there is barely anything to suggest this film is even set in the 90’s. Such a vibrant and unpredictable time should have been used to move the story along but instead the few 90’s references that are featured feel crowbarred in.
Casting wise, whilst Nicholas Hoult is fine, there are certainly countless other actors who could have done much better. Someone like Ryan Gosling or even Paddy Considine, (to be more realistic) would have brought some much needed brooding intensity to a difficult role.
That being said there is some occasional decent narration and whilst the use of Radiohead’s ‘Karma Police’ is a little on the nose, it is also typically beautiful and provides one of the films few memorable scenes.
Despite the plethora of films that have already tackled Britpop, there is still a great film to be made about what was a defining era for me and countless others. Kill Your Friends isn’t it.