Imagine this; a drugged and topless James Corden on a table dancing to 90’s tunes and eating vinyl CD’s until he passed out onto the floor where upon he is then urinated on by Nicholas Hoult. That is literally how the opening scenes to Kill Your Friends starts … promising an unconventional swing on the music industry and tickling with utter spontaneity as to what is coming next.
Based on John Niven’s book of the same title, the film is set in the 90’s Britpop era, where music A+R (record deal) departments received over half a million demo taps a year from wannabe artists. However only a mere ten (10!) of those tracks are ever signed and released. The job of the A+R dept. is to single out the best of those; record it, market it, sell it and ultimately make lots of money.
This is where Nicholas Hoult’s character, Stelfox, is introduced. Currently working as a rep who finds the music, he has an ambition to become the head of the A+R. Yet when a promotion is in sights, he is pushed aside by his ‘friends’ who have preferable seniority over him creating a competition. But this does not sit too well with him at all. Hence the film’s title. What follows is a spree of lies, murder and betrayal – all in the cause of getting to the top…
For the next 100 minutes is a sadistic comedy where finding the right song is paramount. Of course to suit this, the film is musically stylised with the likes of Blur, Radiohead etc blasting throughout as well as countless other pop references. However, as Hoult describes in his narration throughout – he hates music and bands. Which is where the comedy element sets in given his career.
One of the most interesting things about the films narration however, is that writer John Niven actually worked in the music business during the 90’s witnessing what really happened. Which raises the question of fact or fiction?
Either way, the film is a mixture of American Psycho meets The Wolf of Wall Street (plus music), which is a compliment to all those involved. If you liked either of those films, then you will love this.