Review by James Lindorf
Academy Award® winner Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) and Golden Globe nominee Jessica Alba (L.A.’s Finest) headline Killers Anonymous, the latest film from Director Martin Owen and Lionsgate. Things at Killers Anonymous, a support group for murderers, are tense during an emergency meeting held hours after an assassination attempt on a U.S. Senator visiting London. Everyone in attendance has killed, with varying degrees of guilt and glee, killing dominates their thoughts. Some need the catharsis of sharing their experience at the meeting while others just need to listen. There is little doubt they will all kill again. The question they have been gathered to answer is which one of them is responsible for the attack on the Senator. Killers Anonymous also stars Suki Waterhouse (Assassination Nation), Rhyon Nicole Brown (Empire) and Tommy Flanagan (Sons of Anarchy). The R-rated thriller will arrive in select theaters and everywhere On Demand on Friday, June 28th.
This is the first of at least three projects on which Owen is partnering with Cinematographer Håvard Helle. This is the first feature-length film that Helle has shot, and Owen appears to have nearly given him free rein. There are some well thought out shots and impressive imagery, particularly during Oldman’s phone calls with a recovering killer back in the States. However, there were also some less successful approaches. These poor techniques are glaring during a bar scene between Oldman and Alba. Strange jumps in distance from the subjects and changes in focal points try to add drama to a scene that should have all its need in the dialogue.
Even though there were hiccups with the cinematography, there were still some good moments. Unfortunately, the same thing cannot be said about the film’s musical choices. The music often didn’t fit what was going on visually and occasionally distracted from the action. I would say the music department was woefully underfunded, it was poorly mixed with the rest of the audio and screamed “royalty free purchases” vs. using original music or paying for the rights to popular songs.
I think when Owen sat down with Elizabeth Morris and Seth Johnson to pen the script for Killers Anonymous, they were hoping to produce a cult hit like Smokin’ Aces. While the world they created is fascinating, and Owen got good performances from Oldman and MyAnna Buring (The Witcher), the rest of the elements aren’t enough to take the movie from forgettable to memorable.
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