Lies. Betrayal. Murder. Just Another Day In The Music Industry

The latest movie that the wife and I watched here in the shadows was the feature film directorial debut from Owen Harris of the comedy crime thriller from 2015 titled “Kill Your Friends”.

kill-your-friends-poster

John Niven - Kill Your Friends
John Niven – Kill Your Friends

The screenplay was penned by Scottish writer John Niven and was based on his debut novel, published in 2008, also titled “Kill Your Friends”. The book was apparently inspired by Niven’s short career in A&R within the music industry, during which it seems that he passed up on the opportunity to sign both Muse and Coldplay to the record label that he worked for.

Nicholas Hoult
Nicholas Hoult

Set in 1997 and based mainly in London -during the Britpop era – Steven Stelfox (Nicholas Hoult – “Equals”, “Dark Places”) works for Unigram Records in the company’s A&R department. He is ambitious for success and eager to become head of department when a vacancy arises.

Georgia King
Georgia King

However, he is generally disinterested in and dismissive of the actual music, fond of throwing demo CDs straight into the bin and throwing records at the wall, he is just interested in what is going to be the next big hit. His secretary Rebecca (Georgia King – “Cockneys Vs Zombies”, “Austenland”) gives him some recommendations but finds that they are routinely ignored.

James Corden
James Corden

Fellow A&R man Roger Waters (James Corden – “Gavin & Stacey”, “The Lady In The Van”) is also in the frame for the vacancy, so Steven decides that he must take extreme measures to ensure that it is he, and not Roger, who lands the job.

Tom Riley
Tom Riley

Things become more challenging for Steven when the head of the label brings in Parker Hall (Tom Riley – “St. Trinian’s 2 : The Legend Of Fritton’s Gold”, “I Want Candy”) from a rival label to head up the A&R team.

Joseph Mawle, Nicholas Hoult & Craig Roberts
Joseph Mawle, Nicholas Hoult & Craig Roberts

Steven and his colleagues, who include James Trellick (Joseph Mawle – “The Hallow”, “The Awakening”) and scout Darren (Craig Roberts – “Submarine”, “22 Jump Street”), spend a huge amount of time getting completely off their faces whilst desperately trying to figure out who to sign – and equally who not to – to get that elusive hit and avoid being fired.

Georgia King & Edward Hogg
Georgia King & Edward Hogg

Having to deal with inquisitive policeman DC Woodham (Edward Hogg – “Jupiter Ascending”, Indian Summers”, who is also a frustrated musician and Rebecca’s own ambitions give Steven even more to try and navigate his way through…

Nicholas Hoult
Nicholas Hoult

To say more would be to give away too much of the plot of the film. Suffice to say that, despite generally poor reviews, we found the movie to be good fun. There is plenty of humour, lots of it rather black, plenty of swearing and bad behaviour too.

Craig Roberts, Georgia King, Nicholas Hoult, Joseph Mawle & Tom Riley
Craig Roberts, Georgia King, Nicholas Hoult, Joseph Mawle & Tom Riley

The soundtrack, which includes the likes of The Prodigy, Radiohead, Blur, The Chemical Brothers and Oasis, is superb and really helps to pin the film down to the era in which it is set – I thought that the scene making use of Radiohead’s “Karma Police” was particularly effective. Hoult was impressive as the main character / narrator, but was ably supported by a decent ensemble cast. Well worth watching!…

Kill-Your-Friends

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