After being graced by The Wolf of Wall Street and blessed with House of Cards’ ‘Wolf of Washington’ we have now been forced to bear witness to the ‘Wolf of Brit-Pop’ or, as it is more commonly known, Owen Harris’ Kill Your Friends. The plot follows Steven Stelfox (Nicholas Hoult) another morally ambiguous, overly ambitious, drug binging, alcohol consuming confidence man who is willing to stop at nothing to become the head of A&R in his record company, which is really all there is to the story. Anyone with half a brain cell can figure out the rest from the production’s title, which might as well have a spoiler alert above it.
What is utterly striking straight off the bat is how utterly unoriginal this film is. The fourth wall breaks feel as if they’ve been taken directly out of Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, and even the black humour in which the film indulges feels as if Harris has just copied and pasted any borderline controversial sentence or gag from the Microsoft Thesaurus. This in turn makes Hoult’s character feel like a hollow, British impersonation of Frank Underwood or Jordan Belfort, but doesn’t have the same “I am the centre of my universe” feel. The supporting characters in the film almost outshine Stelfox in certain scenes, going so far as to make the over-exaggerated 90’s indie, hipster band seem more appealing than the characters.
That being said, there is something about the film that is genuinely entertaining. It would appear that observing a character of this nature is simply pleasing to watch, even a pale impersonation of its archetypal predecessors. Hoult is brilliantly cast, calling upon traits he hasn’t used since his time on Skins and becoming what would appear to be a grown up Tony Stonem in the music world. It is pleasing to see him going back to his roots in this manner. Even the black humour, while largely ripped off, gets a lot of laughs and thus it becomes clear why Harris has made the film in way he has; we love it.
Image: Mendolus Shank; flickr.com