You Kill Me
I have often thought that there is a family relationship between films. Occasionally, one finds a season, or even a single weekend, in which completely unrelated cinematic experiences stay to a common theme. That is not to imply that said movies are in any way copies of each other, or owe to the same inspiration . . . just that life has its whimsical little coincidences.
So it is with the recent “You Kill Me” and last month’s “Mr. Brooks.” Both movies, oddly enough, feature killers who belong to Alcoholics Anonymous and are using the 12-step program to help them deal with their killing. In “Mr. Brooks,” Kevin Costner’s character was trying to stop his addiction to serial killing. In “You Kill Me,” however, we find Ben Kingsley’s character, mob hit man Frank Falenczyk, trying to keep his alcoholism from impairing his killing efficiency.
Like Pierce Brosnan’s hit man of an even less-recent film, “The Matador,” Frank Falenczyk has hit a burnout point, and his employers are questioning his value. Instead of simply doing away with him, however, Frank gets sent to San Francisco to clean up his act. Half the fun of this dry black comedy is seeing the Buffalo native settling into West Coast life, and the characters he meets there. Bill Pullman, Tea Leoni, and Luke Wilson all pull their weight, matching Ben Kingsley’s low key performance with interesting, subtle characters all their own.
This is a small film, an actor’s film, which contrasts seriously with all the big-effects, big-budget extravaganzas of summer. If you’re looking for a break from all the noise and energy, this quiet little dark comedy could be just the respite one needs.
What Great-grandfather Sherlock would have said: