30th Aug2019

‘Killers Anonymous’ Review

by Dom Hastings

Stars: Tommy Flanagan, Rhyon Nicole Brown, MyAnna Buring, Michael Socha, Tim McInnerny, Gary Oldman, Jessica Alba, Elliot James Langridge, Suki Waterhouse, Sam Hazeldine, Elizabeth Morris, Isabelle Allen, Sally Collett, Sadie Frost, Takako Akashi | Written by Seth Johnson, Elizabeth Morris, Martin Owen | Directed by Martin Owen

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Since winning an Oscar for his portrayal of Churchill in Darkest Hour, Gary Oldman has since been affiliated with an alcoholics anonymous-esque group for killers: Killers Anonymous – also the title of his new film!

Opening with what appears to be a killers anonymous meeting, Gary Oldman’s The Man (yes, his actual character name) is the host, but he is in hot demand and must call the meeting short. A popular man, The Man finds himself in a London pub conversing with a killer client, in almost a confession-like situation. Sadly, this is the bulk of Gary Oldman in Killers Anonymous. For the main body of the film, the location setting is of a basement below a London church – slightly ironic, though no better place than the house of God to confess to killing. With characters predictably varying in background, from a shy hipster (Elliot James Langridge’s Ben) to an Irish hardman (Tommy Flanagan’s Markus), they all share one thing in common: they are killers.

Running parallel in the background with the killers anonymous session, though seriously underdeveloped until the third act, is the mystery of the assassination of a US Senator. As contract killers, they are all suspicious of each other. As the meeting of murderers is more of a confession session rather than meet-up in the pub, one killer will reveal the truth.

In this type of film, the characters make or break said film. Sadly for Killers Anonymous, there are too many uninteresting characters, and the ones of interest are diminished to lowly supporting roles. When there is an urge for one or two of the formerly uninteresting characters to develop an interest, it is simply too late into the film, thus establishing an unwanted ridiculousness. The acting throughout is sound, but it is shameful that there is just no care or interest established for a lot of these characters – hipster Ben and Irish Markus spring to mind. A diamond in the rough, however, is Tim McInnerny’s Calvin, an eccentric doctor who kills off his patients… for the beauty of watching individuals slowly die, such as his wife. Whilst grotesque, there is a hint of black comedy surrounding this character.

Additionally, there is an obvious struggle with genre transitions in this film. At first, Killers Anonymous feels like a slightly ironic and ridiculous comedy, which is quite entertaining, but once more characters are involved, the direction is shifted towards the crime-drama movie, establishing an unfortunate lack of entertainment. With there being an underwhelming mystery element in the background, and backstories presented by respective characters, there is an element of “Whodunit”

Available now on DVD and Blu-ray, but more appropriate for a late-night viewing on the likes of E4, Killers Anonymous is far from essential viewing for fans of Gary Oldman or even Jessica Alba who, like the former, has a severe lack of screentime (maybe as low as 5 minutes). Conceptually, Killers Anonymous is certainly out there, though after viewing, there is an unwanted feel of it being a missed opportunity to be more extravagant.

** 2/5

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