Steven struts around the office to Blur's Beetlebum, plotting against his co-workers and breaking the fourth wall while authoritatively explaining the finer points of his rationale. The meaning of life, according to these coked-up, Conan-quoting apes, is "to drive your enemies before you and hear the lamentations of their women." That's assuming that those women are in a size 10 minidress or, even better, their underwear. Otherwise they, and the film, would try to ignore their existence entirely. The single female character that approaches depth is Steven's receptionist Rebecca (Georgia King), but that 'depth' manifests as duplicitous ambition and she's duly brought low as the punchline of a sickening and violent gag. There are some positives amongst the onslaught, however.
Hoult is impeccable as the despicable Steven, his swagger and spite exactly what the role requires. The direction is slick from first-timer Harris and the soundtrack provides some welcome respite as well; Echo and the Bunnymen, Oasis, and The Chemical Brothers all feature. Sadly, even that pleasure has become a chore by the time Thom Yorke arrives to report Steven to the Karma Police. Of course, the repercussions never materialise for him, but audiences may not escape so lightly. Kill Your Friends is a rancid cocktail of misogyny, homophobia, and much more besides, that never convinces as scathing satire as much as back-slapping celebration.
Ben Nicholson | @BRNicholson