Kill List

I found it impossible to watch Kill List and not draw parallels with Rambo: First Blood. Essentially they are both about veterans who return to civilian life to find that they are ill prepared for the social differences. This film brilliantly depicts the ill fated attempts of two former soldiers to adjust, some of the early scenes are filled with tension as money troubles come between a couple, the film never goes out of its way to tell us the effect this all has on their only son simply because the fights between them are so realistically shot and visceral that you almost feel as if you are in the house with them. Like John Rambo the protagonists are most comfortable when they are acting like soldiers, together in the woods towards the end of the film they seem for the first time truly happy. The figure of the veteran is rarely an unconflicted one, too often one dimensional, and this film demonstrates that little has changed since the seventies, eighties and films like Deer Hunter and Rambo, where Veterans are shown to lack the ability to adjust in such an extent that the only way to deal with their frustration is to return to what they know, the war, even if there is no war to fight. What Kill List does do though is add a further allegorical layer to the mix, the ending is so reminiscent of a certain other famous British film that it almost seems like they ran out of ideas and just stuck in bits of what ever film they happened to watch that afternoon, however it clearly represents, in a fairly unexpected and unique way the death of the protagionists normal, happy family life. This is a brilliantly shot and acted film, it raises questions about the return to civilian life which Veterans make and the role of the family within that. Unfortunately in the fourty or so years since the Vietnam war (and that is not to say the Veteran was not a conflicted character far before this) these questions are still being raised through characters which are at best over simplifed and at worst completely at odds with reality, what is more worrying though is that in those fourty years we are still, as a society, to address those questions.

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