To Kill A Man (2014)

254) To Kill A Man (2014) “Matar a un hombre” (original title)

A working class man who, tired of being the victim of criminals, decides to take justice in his own hands.

7/10 –  Winner of the Dramatic World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at Sundance this year, I was able to catch this French-Chilean film at the Latin American Film Festival last month in Covent Garden. Unfortunately it was the only film I was able to see at this festival, I would have liked to have seen more, not least for the fact that they provided free wine at each screening.

At the risk of giving too much away, I will keep the review short and sweet. Whatever you do, do not read the review in Variety, because as well written as it is, it gives away all the qualities and key plot points that make this film what it is. There is something very frustrating about that type of review, it outlines the entire storyline and then labels it as a review. Plot Summary – sure, review – absolutely not.

Take all preconceived assumptions of a ‘revenge’ film and throw them out of the window. If you think you will be tuning in to cheesy, action-type revenge like ‘Taken’ or anything even remotely like ‘Oldboy’ you are mistaken. Nevertheless, the raw emotion of anger present in almost all ‘revenge thrillers’ is certainly present in this bleak, quiet film. It feels raw and untouched. There is a certain authenticity to the way the revenge is sought and some may see this as ‘dull’ or ‘lifeless’ but I would argue the contrary. It is full of life. We have become accustomed to sensationalist torture films, where revenge is seen as enjoyment and entertainment. This is an ordinary man, seeking an ordinary revenge for an act that within the context of his environment is quite ordinary in itself.

It is slow and suspenseful, however, maybe it was the multiple glasses of wine, but the film felt almost too slow at times. Dragging from scene to scene, the fine line of restrained realism portrayed on film was being truly tested.

Solid performances all round, with a brooding score that enhanced the few moments of tension, but if you like your thrillers with a little more ‘thrill’ I would perhaps look elsewhere.

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