Kill Your Friends

The That Evil Guy Film


Could have been good, just needed more evil.
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Reported on 30th of September, 2015

There are some nice details in Kill Your Friends, none of which I can remember without my notes. And I lost them. But it’s instructive in the way of That Evil Guy films (The Rise and Rise of Michael Wimmer, Ace in the Hole, Nightcrawler, Match Point, etc.), what makes them work, and, in the case in question, what does not.

Kill Your Friends

30 September 2015 @ The Salle Stephan Bouttet


$1.50 or, if one must be prosaic, and one must... 
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

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See, it’s fine to have an evil, possibly even an amoral character, at your film’s center. But evil, by itself, is not that interesting. Nothing is, actually. The way it, and anything else, can work is by offering some other thing to the audience. Competence is certainly one attribute, humor another. Your character can be smart and evil, funny and evil, smart, funny and evil, but you have to be at least two or you can’t be my girlfriend.

Huh?

What?

Our anti‑hero is pointedly half‑milquetoast, and half the wrong half of Walter Mitty.

Shame, really, because you read the credits and see that it was based on a book, and don’t have to bother the internet to know that this was some guy who was in the 1990s music business. I believe the coke parties and the indecision and the desperation to sell things whose appeal you don’t understand. And the details that I forgot. I believe those most of all.

Apparently, I gave the film three Hitchcocks, which I regret. I suppose I didn't want to hurt their feelings. They, in retrospect, being the metal box into which the tickets are placed. Whew. No wonder democracy doesn't work.

Apparently, I gave the film three Hitchcocks, which I regret. I suppose I didn’t want to hurt their feelings. They, in retrospect, being the metal box into which the tickets are placed. Whew. No wonder democracy doesn’t work.

The failure of the film, a failure largely of character, is reflected best in the literalization of the title. He does, very early on mind you, Kill His Friend. Kill your friends is an attitude, not an outline. If you literalize the phrase, it loses any poetic quality it might have had.

Attitude is exactly what is missing. Our anti-hero is pointedly half-milquetoast, and half the wrong half of Walter Mitty. The film begins with Mr. Nicolas Hoult reading a book about conquering his heroes in military style. We’ve seen this before, and that’s fine. We mentally prepare for some evil hijinks, the fun that want to experience vicariously when the moral gloves are off. The That Evil Guy film manifests in the satisfying glint we get watching what we really want to do, a scratch and sniff Odorama card with cocaine as Nr. 7, post-sex wake-up sweat Nr. 8.

After ten minutes, thought, Mr. Hoult forgets that he has read this book, to us I guess, and proceeds to act tentatively for almost the entirety of the film. At the end, he remembers to quote the book again, does some markedly unmemorable evil stuff, and winds up on top. The ending is appropriate for the genre, but the ride is flat. Shame really, as it’s a subject that deserves a film, if for no other reason than the idea that they’re used to be money in the music business. Could have been good, just needed more evil.

The Take

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Profits!
Not having my notes, I’ll instead describe the great Dinard film festival, and we’ll base the final take on that.  Being able to eat Maison Moreau macarons (they’re extremely difficult to transport).
$1.00
The theater is a performance space, with the front seats added, and yet not bolted down. It gives a feeling of danger that the film does not provide!
$2.00
There is an extremely silly introduction to the festival, with various Dinardais landmarks painted with British flags, having bulldogs and so forth. There is a charm to the idea that an international festival would make an advertisement – for itself – that only residents could understand.
$1.00
Total Profits
$4.00
Losses!
Not remembering my notes is the conscious version of the unconscious act of losing them.
$2.50
Total Losses
$2.50

$1.50

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