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You Kill Me (2007)

A movie directed by John Dahl

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"It isn't that I'm sorry I killed them," Frank says, "it's that I'm sorry I killed them badly."

  • Mar 17, 2012
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 comedy of Frank’s journey to sobriety. He knows that unless he stops drinking he’ll never be able to resume his profession. He joins AA and doesn’t like it one bit. He gets a job dressing bodies in a funeral home. (Frank turns out to be quite good with make-up.) Tom (Luke Wilson), a nice guy who also attends the AA meetings, becomes his sponsor. He meets Laurel Pearson (Tea Leoni) when he works on her recently dead uncle. As Frank gradually loosens up and accepts the idea of friendship (and maybe more with Laurel), he maintains his commitment to his profession. “It isn't that I'm sorry I killed them,” Frank says, “it's that I'm sorry I killed them badly.” Frank is serious about maintaining standards and begins to discuss this with Laurel and at AA meetings. He points out that he never killed anyone who didn’t deserve it. Fortunately, by now they’ve come to like Frank and overlook his faults.
The movie veers off course with a conclusion that brings Frank back to Buffalo for a shootout and some vengeance. Fortunately, Laurel shows up to help Frank. They may have quite a future…but doing what?
All this is handled with deadpan seriousness by Kingsley in a fine and very likeable performance. Kingsley was 64 when he made this movie. He is fit and capable as a leading man, a hit man or in bed with Tea Leoni. While Kingsley carries this deadpan comedy, the other actors, especially Leoni, provide a lot of support.

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More You Kill Me (2007 movie) reviews
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 …
review by . February 11, 2008
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 …
About the reviewer
C. O. DeRiemer ()
Ranked #33
Since I retired in 1995 I have tried to hone skills in muttering to myself, writing and napping. At 75, I live in one of those places where one moves from independent living to hospice. I expect to begin … more
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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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