Friday, July 13, 2007

You Kill Me

“My drinking is interfering with my work. That’s why I’m here, so I can get sober and go back to killing people full time.”

After botching an important assignment Frank Falenczyk (Ben Kingsley) is shipped out of Buffalo to sunny San Francisco to get control of his drinking problem which is interfering with his work - killing people for the Polish mob.

After arriving in San Fransisco Frank is put up in an apartment and given a job in a funeral home by a friend of his bosses back home (Bill Pullman). He begins to attend AA meetings, finds a friend and a sponsor (Luke Wilson) and meets and falls for a lonely woman (Tea Leoni). For the first time Frank takes an honest look at his life and realizes he needs to get better so he can return to Buffalo and get back to the work he is so good at - killing people.

Much like The Matador (read that review) the film balances the issues of killing and death with a certain amount of whimsy and some fairly dark humor. The AA scenes are some of the best in the film, especially when Frank decides to come clean with everyone about what it is he does.

Kingsley carries the picture and does a fine job balancing the depth and depression of the character with the story’s dark wit. Leoni, who has never been a favorite of mine, comes off good here as her inherent awkwardness is used as part of the character. The love story between the pair works because it is absent of any Hollywood trappings. Here are two lonely people that connect out of loneliness and find comfort in each other. In some ways it’s an anti-Hollywood romance. The film also contains a strong supporting cast worth mentioning including Pullman, Philip Baker Hall, Dennis Farina, and Lorraine James.

Sure the premise of the film is more than a little flimsy, and why Frank is sent to San Fransisco is never satisfactorily explained, but there is plenty here to enjoy including some truly funny comic moments, good lead and supporting performances, and last but certainly not least, a wit and intelligence far beyond the average summer film. Sure the movie has it’s share of contrived situations, but it’s off-beat nature and skewed humor do quite a bit in creating an enjoyable little film that is worth a look.

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