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You Kill Me (2007)

A movie directed by John Dahl

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Alcoholic hit men need love too.

  • Feb 11, 2008
  • by
You might think that a movie about an alcoholic hit man finding love in San Francisco would be more than a ridiculous, but Ben Kingsley and Tea Leoni find a way to inject just enough believability into an unbelievable premise to make You Kill Me an excellent black comedy.

Kingsley's Frank (the go to hit man for a Polish crime family in Buffalo) is every bit as menacing as the thug he played in Sexy Beast. But Frank is more human, way, way more human! From the opening scene where he uses his love of alcohol as a form of inducement to shovel snow from his front door and sidewalk, and on to his forced relocation (due to a botched hit) and attempts at sobriety, Kingsley makes for the most interesting murderer since John Cusack in Grosse Point Blank.

Fed up by the affect that alcohol has had on his performance, Frank's family sends him cross country to get into a 12 step program. There he gets a job in a funeral parlor (yep), joins AA and acquires a sponsor (Luke Wilson, in a calm and subtle performance). He also meets a woman played by Tea Leoni, and begins a relationship. Like any essentially non-voluntary inductee into sobriety, Frank's efforts at drying out meet with a few fits and starts.

It takes Frank a while to realize that he does have a problem, but once he comes to grip with the fact that booze has made him a less efficient killer, he does begin to apply himself.

Leoni is marvelous as the lonely recipient of Frank's affections. Her wordless reactions to his confessions in front of his AA group are priceless! Tea makes the whole "falling in love with a callous killer" thing understandable.

Black comedy is difficult to serve up in an entertaining fashion. But You Kill Me is thoughtful entertainment that the cast and crew take pride in delivering.

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More You Kill Me (2007 movie) reviews
review by . March 17, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Hit man Frank Falenczyk of Buffalo, NY, has a problem. It took him seven bullets to finish off one contract. With another, a woman this time, he intended to slit her throat but missed and slit her eye. He was so drunk he couldn’t do his job. Frank is an alcoholic.       Life changes for Frank (Ben Kingsley) when his small-time mob boss, Roman Krzeminski (Philip Baker Hall), orders him to go to the West Coast and dry out…or else. You Kill Me is an amusing black …
review by . September 08, 2008
One of the first things they teach aspiring screenwriters (right after the basics of Syd Field's three-act structure) is that the first five pages of your script better be fantastic or no one's going to read the next 85 to 115. Script readers are overworked and underpaid and read so many screenplays that they can generally tell in the first five pages if you've got anything interesting to say-and if you do and you don't wow them in five minutes time, then you're probably not suited for the gig anyway. …
review by . September 23, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have had success with such collaborations as 'The Chronicles of Narnia' and 'The Life and Death of Peter Sellers', proving their skills, and yet in this strange amalgam of serious versus romantic versus dark comedy they have created a series of vignettes loosely tied together and named it YOU KILL ME. The film as directed by John Dahl (aided by a superb cluster of fine actors) almost works despite itself, but in the end the audience is left wondering …
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Ben Kingsley is remarkable inYou Kill Me, a comedy-drama with an absurdist touch. The Oscar-winning British actor plays Frank Falenczyk, an alcoholic hitman from New York sent by his boss, Roman (Philip Baker Hall), to dry out in San Francisco just when a new crime lord (Dennis Farina) is moving in on Roman's turf. Frank reluctantly follows instructions and takes a Bay Area apartment, finds a part-time job as a mortician, and attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Acquiring a thoughtful sponsor and friend (Luke Wilson) through AA, Frank begins reflecting seriously about his life and responsibilities, and even becomes romantically involved with a delightfully acerbic woman (Téa Leoni).

Feeling respected and loved in the early days of his sobriety, Frank does what a lot of people do in similar situations: take stock of past mistakes and be completely honest with everyone. When he reveals to his companions and AA group that he has, at times, seriously messed up his work as a killer because of booze, the universal response is supportive with only a streak of, well, moral ambivalence. From there, the sky's the limit for a hired gun with a boost in self-esteem. You Kill Me is the kind of movie that can get an audience to suspend disbelief significantly without drawing too much attention to that fact. But that doesn't mean the film's noir roots don't show. Director John Dahl (The Last Seduction) has made You Kill Me as tough as any other movie he's ...

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Director: John Dahl
Genre: Comedy
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: October 9, 2007
Runtime: 93 minutes
Studio: Ifc
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