Don’t miss the crime comedy “The Kill Room” with an outstanding cast and an unconventional story, cleverly mocking the world of contemporary art.
History of Creation
In 2009, American female comedian Nicole Paon made her first film appearance, having previously performed in numerous shows and sketches. In 2020, she wrote the screenplay and directed the movie “Friends”, featuring actors from the eponymous series, who reunite after 17 years.
In 2022, Nicole announced the start of work on a unique project that brings together Uma Thurman (“Kill Bill, 1 and 2”), her daughter Maya Hawke (star of “Stranger Things”), Samuel L. Jackson (“Pulp Fiction”, “Jackie Brown”), Joe Manganiello (“Magic Mike”, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League”), wrestler Liv Morgan, designer and reality show star Leia McSweeney, model Dree Hemingway, and others.
The intriguing cast is complemented by the names of the studios involved in the production. The small but actively developing Shout Studios financed the film, while Yale Productions, which shot the bright and crazy thriller of 2023 “The Wrath of Becky”, participated in the production.
The film’s producers included Jordan Levine, Jordan Beckerman, Nicole Paon, Danielle Thomas, Uma Thurman, and others.
The film opens with a news report about a brutal killer who taunts the police with brazen crimes. Meanwhile, a man (easily recognizable as Joe Manganiello) walks into a diner and demands a refund for his terrible coffee.
When the owner rudely refuses, the visitor (named Reggie Pitt) attacks him. The unfortunate shopkeeper, dragged into the back room with a bag over his head, traces lines on the floor with his twitching legs. The silent and eerie Reggie needs a reason to kill. And often.
The scene shifts to an art exhibition.
Uma Thurman, portraying gallery owner Patrice, attempts to sell the languid abstract canvases by the artist Grace (Maya Hawke). And no one is buying this art.
Patrice Capullo is a graceful, not-so-young blonde, taking drugs and infuriated by the fact that she backed the wrong horse and is now going to lose. She and her intern Leslie (the as yet little-known young actress Amy Qym) are unsuccessfully trying to salvage the situation, but it seems the gallery is headed for inevitable collapse. Patrice needs a new face and a name, who, moreover, creates something interesting.
We return to the killer.
Reggie goes to Samuel L. Jackson, who amusingly appears as an old man with a gray beard and in a knitted cap. This is Gordon Davis, a very cool authority figure, who owns a shop through which he launders money for the mafia. At this moment, a couple of Orthodox Jews, extremely unhappy that Gordon’s services have become more expensive, are leaving him. Business is declining, and Davis urgently needs an entirely new cash legalization scheme, some unexpected solution.
Then Nate, Patrice’s drug dealer, comes to her; they converse about art, and he demands she settles her debt. The lady pays Nate with a painting that caught his eye, which is soon seen by Reggie and Gordon. And the latter gets an idea that he brings to Patrice.
In the initial negotiations about laundering money through the gallery, Patrice, of course, refuses. But then, after making the rounds at other exhibitions, the lady realizes that she probably has no choice. And she goes to Gordon.
This pair, the old swindler and the unlucky adventurer, have one problem left: they need to get a painting that they will purportedly sell. Gordon seats Reggie in front of a canvas and instructs him to paint anything.
After agonizing contemplation, Reggie paints “something,” Gordon convinces his boss, a major mobster, that the gallery is a great option, and Patrice, to her astonishment, realizes that crime provides easy money. Moreover, the paintings by the gloomy Reggie, for whom they have concocted the pseudonym “The Bagger” (the nickname is justified, you’ll understand why), cause a real sensation.
Gordon and Patrice are enveloped in joyful excitement and incredible ambitions. “Heaven has brought us together!” exclaims the cunning scammer, and the lady fully agrees with him.
Patrice would like to work with The Bagger, not selling every one of his paintings only to Gordon as part of their agreement. And she tries to get close to the artist, explaining the subtleties of the art world, considering him a simple drug dealer, while also implementing her plans for the gallery’s development.
Meanwhile, Reggie immerses himself headlong into the true agonies of creativity, which are inextricably linked with killings. He paints his masterpieces with paint and blood, more and more conflicting rumors circulate about him, but he still remains a mystery to the agitated world of artistic art.
An amazing plot twist, a clear exposition of events in which it is impossible to get confused, distinct characters, and excellent interconnections throughout. Jonathan Jacobson’s screenplay is beyond reproach and pulls off an incredibly intriguing, adventurous story.
But alas, Nicole Paone is not Quentin Tarantino. Even though she managed to unite Uma Thurman and Samuel L. Jackson for the first time since “Pulp Fiction,” she obviously could not replicate the success with the same acting duo. The transition of events often seems blurred, as if the director was finishing each scene in a hurry, and the potential of the Hollywood stars is not realized at all.
The habitats of the characters, portrayed by excellent actors, are not developed at all. The gallery? – two walls and a piece of a room, adorned with the same dull accessories. Gordon’s shop? – a dreary, clutter-filled barn, seemingly the same one that represents Reggie’s “artist’s workshop.” An impressive exhibition in a sculpture gallery? – a mid-level cafe with gray walls and a bunch of extras wandering around with champagne glasses to block the decorations.
Moreover, the scenes in Patris’s gallery were filmed in real art galleries in Hoboken and Jersey City, but the director managed to make them maximally inexpressive.
In a word, what constitutes a significant part of the film’s atmosphere – intriguing details and meticulously worked out decorations, is reduced to a messy, boring backdrop.
Overall, this film is quite an engaging criminal black comedy. Magnificent acting, an extraordinary plot, light humor, skillfully sprinkled throughout the events.
Yes, it’s a one-off movie, which includes a few silly nuances and a bit of bloopers. The picture deliberately recalls the gangster films of the 80s, excellently mocks the pompous world of modern art critics with their questionable ‘masterpieces,’ and does not shy away from brutal themes. All of this creates the impression of a cute story that will perfectly brighten up a free evening.
We might rate the film a 6.5 out of 10, but the final decision, of course, is up to you, dear viewers.