"You Kill Me"
Directed by John Dahl ("The Last Seduction", "Rounders").
Written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
Starring Ben Kingsley, Téa Leoni, Luke Wilson and Dennis Farina.
Release Year: 2007
Review Date: 7/12/07
After trying to see a freebie of "Hairspray"
tonight and not making it in, I walked to a nearby theater to catch
the comedy "You Kill Me" instead...and, it was a not-bad choice
given my situation.
Ben Kingsley shows up in so many movies now
that it's hard to keep up, but this time he has picked well, as he
plays a Buffalo-based hit man named Frank who has a pretty bad
drinking problem. After botching a hit on a local thug (Dennis
Farina), Frank's handler Roman (Philip Baker Hall) sends Frank all
the way to San Francisco to join an AA program to get over his bad
habits. While he's on the left coast, he joins a local AA
group where he gains a friend and a sponsor in a gay toll-booth
operator named Tom (Luke Wilson) and a part-time job where he cleans
and preps cadavers for burial ceremonies at a local funeral home.
At the funeral home, he meets Laurel (Téa Leoni), who just happens
to be single and enjoy the company of older, seasoned hitmen...and,
a relationship is born. Unfortunately, trouble is brewing back
in Buffalo between the rival families we meet early on, so
eventually, Frank has to go back home to figure out what's what.
Kingsley can do it all, so it's no surprise
that his low-key contract killer has some great lines but more
importantly, his line delivery is what normally gets the
laugh...between the snide looks, the stiff looks, the "are you
fucking kidding me?" looks and the sincere stare of a focused
killer, Kingsley is fantastic. The rest of the cast features
talented actors (at least, besides Leoni, who produced this film)
but they aren't as strong as I thought they would have been; Farina
is a ham that doesn't seem to be based in our world at all...Wilson
is so-so, and even Bill Pullman--who I have generally liked over the
years--wasn't quite right in his part either. But, the mix of
comedy and the more morbid bits with killing and handling dead
bodies was generally good, and save for a couple of brief moments
could be handled by pretty much everyone.
But, the film never gets a belly laugh or a
great action scene put together; it never transcends the crazy
hitman-flick run that came after "Pulp Fiction" came out in the
mid-90s, with nothing you haven't seen before, save for maybe the
sideplot of having Frank also work in a funeral home between jobs.
The romance never registered for me; it didn't appear to me that
Leoni and Kingsley's characters had any chemistry, and I think
that's important if like a quarter of your movie is dedicated to a
romance that doesn't make any fucking sense. Of course, any
movie partially shot in San Francisco and Buffalo will garner
interest from me, but still.
Not bad. Don't go out of your way to
see it (it's running in indie theaters now), but maybe on video,
it's worth a look, especially if you love Kingsley as much as I do.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard