I’I’ve been a John Dahl fan ever since I saw his masterpiece Red Rock West many years ago. You Kill Me is his latest movie, a forgettable and yet highly entertaining black comedy about an alcoholic hitman. And right away, I have to mention The Matador, a fairly similar movie starring Pierce Brosnan. So, if you like this sort of movie, here are two for the price of one. When your main character is a hitman, you don’t have to worry about a lot of things. Anything that happens to him is permissible from a moral standpoint as his job is to kill people.
Featuring a short running time of 90 minutes and an excellent pacing, You Kill Me, is a welcome distraction. The storytelling is straightforward, interrupted only by outrageous situations and dialogues. So, just turn off your brain and get ready to have some fun. And if you like black humor, well, then you’re in luck. The movie never tries to be bigger than it actually is. This low-key approach is something I really appreciated. If there’s something that I don’t like, it’s all of these pretentious indie movies trying to be larger than life.
With this being said, you can also consider You Kill Me a character study. Frank’s alcoholism is driven by his nihilism and his nihilism is a consequence of not only the job he does but also his personality and the world we live in. I would love to tell you more about what happens because it takes things to a whole nother level of blackness but I won’t. Since this is not a perfect movie, I have to be extra careful not to spoil anything and to actually make you check it out.
Frank Falendzyk just woke up and the first thing he does is take a good and hefty swig from a vodka bottle. He washes it down with some beer and now he’s ready to go to work. You see, Frank works as a hitman for a New York mobster. He was a great asset to the team but he’s beginning to slip up because of his raging alcoholism. Since he’s family, the head mob guy sends him to the West Coast to chill for a while. However, this will prove to be a bit more difficult than he initially thought.
The cast did a terrific job playing their roles straight like this is some sort of a difficult drama and not a lighthearted black crime comedy. Ben Kingsley and Tea Leoni were excellent here, giving subdued and empathetic performances. And I’m sure you’re going to recognize most of the supporting cast. On that note, I simply have to recommend you another black crime comedy starring Ben Kingsley and that’s Sexy Beast. He plays a very different character in that movie who also happens to be a mobster.
Director: John Dahl
Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Cast: Ben Kingsley, Téa Leoni, Luke Wilson, Dennis Farina, Philip Baker Hall, Bill Pullman