Samstag, 15. August 2015

The Invitation / Kill Your Friends

Apparent budgetary restrictions and screenwriting limitations inherent to such high-concept materials notwithstanding, American director Karyn Kusama's single-setting psychological thriller The Invitation, about a reunion party for members from a previous support group and the unexpected course the evening takes, showcases some of indie filmmaking's best qualities: the audacity to build and craft atmosphere for 80 minutes out of your 90-min film, the utter ruthlessness when it comes time to pop the bloated balloon, the added edge of rawness and unforseeability of it all. Similarly groomed but delivering characterizations from polar opposites, Michiel Huisman and Logan Marshall-Green got the yin and yang of the unsettling group dynamics just right. Her smile either too perfectly practiced or betraying a deep source of reluctance, Tammy Blanchard convinces as a woman caught between reason and salvation. Smartly reflecting on the human capacity to deal with loss, the thematic relevance and compositional brilliance of this movie only slowly reveal themselves after one's had a chance to recover from its particularly harrowing finale.

There are a handful of interesting moments in British director Owen Harris' 90's-set slasher comedy Kill your Friends, most notably when the aleatory nature and sheer opportunism of the music industry it satirizes threaten to come alive despite the broad, farcically two-dimensional treatment. Those funny and scary flashes of semi-insight are rare, however, as the majority of the film is devoted to the kind of ineffectual parody that lacks both sensory kicks and a narrative sense. Lead actor Nicholas Hoult offers his take on a Patrick Bateman type of manically ambitious A&R-manager but doesn't quite have the presence or vigor to back it up. Supporting players like James Corden and star cameos from the likes of Moritz Bleibtreu do their part filling the zany quotient, but the overall air of insipidness, exacerbated by a stylistic underperformance, makes sure the movie never approaches the level of scandalousness promised by its title.

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