Disturbing. Deeply disturbing. Kill List is downright uncomfortable viewing. At a glance it's about a hitman with marital problems, but there's really no synopsis that could do justice to this film.

It opens with Jay (Maskell) and his wife, Shel (Buring); a couple who leap between love and hate. Their relationship is never easy to watch but is always believable - the venom they spit at each other interrupting the moments of real affection and vice versa. These contrasts are helped by the random editing: leaps in tone occur within shots as the narrative moves back and forth within scenes.

The jarring editing continues throughout and dialogue doesn't always relate to the scenes we are watching, meaning you can never get comfortable with what is happening, nor gain a complete understanding of what is going on. Jay could conceivably pop into the shops to buy some milk or dive into the lakes of hell itself.

This does not mean that the film is wholly unpredictable. There's no telling what will happen by the end, but at the same time we are kept well informed as to what will happen in the next minute. This tactic is all the more disturbing because it means that on some level our minds are attuned to the twisted nature of unfolding events. The slow build-up makes some scenes incredibly difficult to watch: we learn how much gruesome violence Jay is capable of, but are somewhat eased into to it so we don't look away.

Kill List is an absolute masterpiece, but that doesn't mean you'll actually be able to endure it.

Richard Duffy