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  • "You Kill Me" is as dark a comedy as you can get. It may also be the first artistically successful romantic comedy noir. Directed by John Dahl (best known for his indie-noirs "Red Rock West" and "The Last Seduction" and the underrated killer trucker flick "Joyride"), the film depicts a hit man (Ben Kingsley-deep in character) forced into Alcoholics Anonymous by his "family" because his drinking has been affecting his ability to kill people. Shipped off to San Franscisco to start his 12 Steps, he picks up a part-time gig at a funeral home and meets a sassy single woman with "boundary issues" (Tea Leoni-hilarious) after her step-dad dies and proceeds to start an unconventional romance with her while struggling to stay on the wagon and learn how to kill again.

    The film starts off very low key, and Dahl keeps such a consistently dark tone it's hard to adjust to the cadence. As good as Kingsley is here, the show really belongs to Leoni. When she finally arrives on the scene, the film reaches a level of hilarity you weren't expecting. Her facial expressions, comic timing, and interplay with Kingsley as she learns the truth about his past are pure gold. Leoni has had her fair share of commercial successes ("Bad Boys," "Deep Impact," "The Family Man", and "Jurassic Park III") but it's in this type of offbeat low-budget comedy where she really shines. She was dynamite in "Flirting with Disaster" and was the best foil for Woody Allen since Diane Keaton in the otherwise forgettable "Hollywood Ending." Here all her comic charms are on display, and she proves that at the age of 40, she is aging not only gracefully and naturally, but with all her sexiness and innate talents in tact.

    While the film goes through the predictable motions in its final act, it's the gooey goodness of the middle portion (especially one laugh-out-loud montage of Leoni helping Kingsley train for his return to "work") that will leave a smile on your face, with Leoni's luminosity as a comedic actress scorched into your mind.
  • Slickflix28 September 2007
    Hollywood loves assassins. You can't go more than a few weeks without a new hit-man movie hitting (sorry) the multiplexes. Hell, later this year, there's a movie coming out literally called "Hitman".

    The new trend seems to be putting comedic twists on the assassin film. I guess we can thank Tarantino for that. Within the past few years, stuff like "Mr.& Mrs. Smith", "The Whole Nine Yards", "The Matador", "Grosse Pointe Blank", and "Lucky Number Slevin" gave us clever little plays on the assassin genre. If you're at all familiar with those films, you'll feel right at home with "You Kill Me".

    Ben Kingsley plays Frank Falenczyk, a hit-man for the Polish Mob out of Buffalo, New York. Frank's an alcoholic, and recently it's been affecting his work. As a result, his superiors send him to San Francisco to attend Alcoholics Anonymous until he can sober up.

    The movie doesn't win any points for originality, but it does have a lot to offer. Kingsley puts on a capable, sympathetic show - pretty impressive for a guy who spends the majority of the film getting hammered. Téa Leoni does well enough as the obligatory love interest. The age difference took a little getting used to. Dennis Farina and Philip Baker Hall are a treat to watch playing essentially the same roles they've been playing forever. Hall is the soft spoken head of the Polish Mob Family, while Farina is the loudmouth villain heading up the Italians. Bill Pullman also has a small role as a sleazy real estate agent. Anyone who's seen "Lucky Numbers" knows that Pullman has a talent for quirky lowlifes, and he shines here.

    This is a very light movie. It won't blow you away in any regards, but it is a solid 90 minutes of easy entertainment. The script is essentially Frank's struggle to fight his habit. We also get a light love story and a touch of crime thriller. It's a strange juggling act, but Kingsley and director John Dahl pull it off. Don't get discouraged by the bland name. With just enough laughs, drama, and action – this is a small movie than just about anybody can have fun with.
  • This little dark comedy is made a real treat by the professional, understated acting by all of its stars and direction that has produced pure entertainment rather than a silly mess.

    The plot of the film couldn't be any more far-fetched. Frank Falenczyk, a hit man for a low-level crime family in Albany, New York, is not performing well because he has an alcohol problem. He is sent to kill the boss of a crime group who is muscling in on the territory. Instead of doing his job, he passes out from drink in his car while waiting. What follows is probably the weirdest family intervention scene ever filmed in which Frank's boss and other members of the crime family tell him that he must go to San Francisco to seek rehabilitation.

    Frank is packed off to San Francisco, but it is clear his heart is not into the rehabilitation idea for his first two purchases are a gun and a bottle of vodka. He goes to an AA meeting and views the whole process with disdain. After leaving the meeting early, he is approached by Dave the realtor who arranged for Frank's apartment and a job as an undertaker's assistant. Dave has some sort of connection with Albany, and Frank is told in no uncertain terms that this is his last chance. Dave assures Frank that he will be reporting regularly to the head of the crime family back East.

    With no other choice, Frank starts going to the meetings where he meets Tom. Tom is a gay toll booth attendant at the Golden Gate Bridge who is wise to the ways of AA. One of the elements that impressed me about the script of this film is how Tom's character is handled. Yes, he is gay, but there is no gay angst associated with his character, and there no Gay Tom subplot. Tom is just a normal guy who just happens to be gay - a refreshing change to the way most gay characters are dealt with in films.

    Laurel shows up at the funeral parlor with a pair of bowling shoes for her dead stepfather, and Frank is immediately attracted as it is clear that she is no shrinking violet when it comes to the harsher realities of life. They begin dating.

    Putting all of these elements together could have easily produced an over-the-top mess of absurdity, but You Kill Me is not. Instead - as alluded to regarding the character of Tom - it is a perfect blend of excellent acting and subtle direction that produces unadulterated entertainment.

    The cast is headed by Ben Kingsley playing Frank, and Kingsley gives us a man we can believe can murder in cold blood, yet possess the weaknesses of a man addicted to alcohol and smitten by a sassy woman.

    As for that sassy woman, Téa Leoni is perfect in the part. Her voice and facial expressions convey worlds of irony mixed with amazement when it comes to her character's relationship with a killer.

    Luke Wilson gives a wonderfully understated performance as Tom. Dave is played to his quirky best by Bill Pullman, and the respective leaders of the "good" and "bad" crime families are given credible umph by Philip Baker Hall and Dennis Farina.

    Add numerous other distinctive character types revolving around these main characters and tons of incredibly witty lines delivered by Frank and his friends, and you have an extremely entertaining - although very dark - comedy.
  • This film has been advertised as a thriller. The pacing of this film is very slow and much too slow to be classified as a thriller. If you watch this expecting a movie full of action and suspense you will be disappointed.

    Here's what's good about this film. All the talent that has been brought to this project has been first rate. The writing is excellent. All the actors down to the very minor ones nail their characters and deliver superb believable performances. The cinematography, sound and other technical elements are 'invisible,' which means that those aspects of the film have been done flawlessly.

    The movie is very funny with many laughs. The comedy emerges from the situations as everyone in the film plays it straight as if it were a drama.

    It takes a very skilled director to pull off this type of story successfully. Minor flaws can make it not work. This film works.

    I think if you drop your fast paced thriller expectations for this film you will find it extremely enjoyable.
  • Very good movie. This movie is about a hit man who is an alcoholic who has to get clean for the family. I am not gonna wreck anymore plot. I thought Ben Kingsley played an amazing part. His character is so likable that you can forgive him for what he does for a living. This movie is a little bit of romance, some action, and a little comedy here and there. Tina Leonie plays the female love interest and she produced this movie. I thought she also did a great job and this is just a good movie. I work at schlock buster video and this film is so underrated. Why can't people enjoy good movies like this instead of crap like Shoot Em' Up or the new movie war. People are so desensitized this day and age that they only enjoy rude comedy by the American Pie Team or just mindless action movies about war or killing. Yes this film is about killing but at least it has a good thorough story that actually makes sense and has good acting instead of the poor acting of the guy from The Transporter in War or the disgusting language of American Pie Beta House. If you like a movie with substance check this film out as it is a killer!
  • d_petzold3004 January 2009
    Warning: Spoilers
    This movie stars Ben Kingsley as Frank, a hit man for some Russian mobsters based out of Buffalo. He is also a raging alcoholic, and this has caused his job performance to decline. After he falls asleep in his car during a would-be hit, his mob boss uncle sends him to San Francisco, where he is to attend AA meetings and get a job as a mortician's assistant. If you're thinking that this makes absolutely no sense, you're not alone.

    It gets worse. Well, it actually gets better, but not before getting much, much worse. Frank suddenly becomes a master mortician in spite of a complete lack of training, but his reactions with the people in the funeral home and the AA meetings are interesting. The viewer starts to root for him as they notice positive changes in his life. Luke Wilson is a welcome addition as Frank's sponsor, although he is given almost nothing to do (his character does tell us he is gay, but this ends up having no significance whatsoever). The movie plunges headlong into idiocy with the introduction of the Tea Leoni character. She is completely unrealistic, and her role as a love interest to Frank flounders, as the two actors have no chemistry together. Around the time she comes into the picture, Frank becomes much less engrossing as a character. His characterization is seemingly random; there is no consistency in his behavior. The comedy is low-key and only intermittently funny, especially disappointing considering the comedic pedigree of the cast.

    Problems abound in this one. Kingsley's accent is terrible and inconsistent. It alternates between Italian, Russian, and Hispanic. Throughout the course of the movie, Frank tells numerous people he is a hit man (including an entire AA group), but nobody seems to care, or wants to do anything about it. The movie relies on cliché scenes to carry it through its final act, most notably when Leoni's insufferable character chases Frank down at the airport, just when he is about to board a flight back to Buffalo.

    Though it has a strong premise and an interesting first half-hour, the movie quickly becomes a total disaster and devolves into complete nonsense. At the end of the film, Frank celebrates one year of sobriety. I hope to celebrate many, many years of not having seen "You Kill Me".

    My Grade: D+
  • dbborroughs18 August 2007
    Far from perfect its absolutely charming with a super cast headed by Ben Kingsley as a hit-man with a drinking problem. Sent from Buffalo to San Fransisco to dry out when he blows a hit, Kingsley attempts to get his life in order.

    Funny, touching and atypical, no one is really a cliché. As I said its not perfect, it meanders a bit too much and the mob stuff is a bit worn but its still a charming film. I think the whole things works thanks to the across the board excellent performances. First and foremost is Ben Kingsley who once again proves himself to be one of the finest comedic actors working today.

    This is one of those movies you like with your heart more than with your head. This is one to see and share with as many people as you can force into seeing it.
  • Well, what an odd film. So far I have liked John Dahl's films, but this one left me distinctly cold. There's something oddly out-of-kilter about the whole exercise, not least the whimsical cod Italian music which plays in more or less every scene, which is intended, I suppose, to inform us that it's all a bit of a hoot really, to the ghastly schmaltz of the 'hero' finally hooking up with the 'heroine' and providing the, for some, de rigueur 'happy ending'. In the other of Dahl's films I've seen schmaltz was not just absent, but replaced by a black humour which was the icing on the cake. Perhaps it looked OK on paper when Dahl first looked at the script. Alcoholic hit-man who is getting sloppy because he's drinking to much is sent by his gangster 'family' to another city to dry out. While there is meets a quirky female - I assume we're supposed to think her quirky or kooky or something - and they fall in love. But the family back home is being extinguished by other gangster so our hero goes home for one last job to avenge the murder of his boss. Actually, it doesn't even sound that promising on paper. I suppose I must allow that in other hands some director might, just might, have made something off it, but inexplicably Dahl isn't that director. Given the overall lack of cohesion and, for this viewer at least, the fact that the film missed all its targets by a country mile, it would be silly to list individual shortcomings, but I'll do so anyway. For one that find actor, great in the right part, Ben Kingsley (or Sir Kingsley as Christopher kept calling him in The Sopranos) is thoroughly miscast. Then there's the character he plays, an unrepentant hit-man who doesn't feel guilty that he has murdered people, just that he was often so drunk he made a hash of many jobs and didn't kill then cleanly. That's funny? OK, again I've got to accede that in the right hands it might well be made to seem so, but Dahl's really aren't the right hands. This film will certainly please some folk - after all, a great many go for all those goddam-awful formulaic blockbusters. But it didn't please me and if you intend watching it because you have liked other of Dahl's films, give it a miss. He can do, and has done, a lot better than this. Yes, it has many of Dahl's hallmarks, not least, some good lines, but the parts really don't add up to a respectable whole. Sorry, but that's the truth.
  • Quite uneven and rather heavy treatment of some topics meant to be amusing, but still, a pleasant change of pace from slasher or crasher movies. Kingsley is a drunken mobster somewhat unconvincingly told to attend AA by his godfather or boss or whatever.

    In the end, this is the sort of pleasing yet non-filling confection of a movie which is suitable for couple to go to without compromise - or perhaps it's the perfect compromise.

    It has enough guys running around with firearms to suit the men. It has Tea Leoni as a strange beautiful woman so there's some romance for the women. It has Ben Kingsley who looks 40 years older than Leoni involved in a romance with her which should satisfy something in most people, even if I'm unsure what.

    Like most movies today, this one demands a huge suspension of disbelief not only about the gangster snow plow wars of Buffalo, but why Chinese want in on a piece of that action, how mobsters care for each other and if some homely old grunt can really get and hold a very hot Hollywood star girl.

    Still, I'll take it over the current clash or crash offerings.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Ben Kingsley plays a drunk hit man. Worst of all his drunkenness accounts for a hit going awry - he sleeps through it, stoned - so he's shipped off to San Francisco to get dry. There he comes under the tutelage of Bill Pullman who puts him into AA and a job as an undertaker's assistant ("right up your alley"). Initially refusing to be directed he succumbs when he's made an offer he can't refuse. Do it or you know what! Not that Pullman can pull that off. He's a frumpy mess of a guy, connected to the mob, and with as much testosterone as a gelding.

    Tea Leoni shows up while he's doing the make up on a corpse, her much despised step father, with some bowling shoes to deck him up in. They turn out to be too small (she'd stolen them from a bowling alley), and Kingsley offers to "break some toes" to make them fit. A relationship has sown it's first seeds. Kingsley's straight on demeanor interests Leoni, who's burnt out on men, wary and cold. What she has going for her though is humor laced with acid. Reluctantly she allows Kingsley to maneuver her into seeing him, and she edges into the relationship.

    Soon enough she finds out she's dating not only a drunk (reforming at times) but a hit man. This she discovers in one of the movies best scenes (Leoni's slow double takes are priceless!) when Kingsley explains to an enthralled AA meeting what he does for a living, and how alcohol is stopping him from doing it. By this time we are so smitten by the movie that we root for him to be dry long enough so he can get back to his job!

    This is a wonderful vehicle for Tea Leoni's dry, dead pan, ironic delivery. As she produced it I have little doubt she either had a hand in the script or had shopped around for one to suit her style. I was hesitant to see this simply because I had confused her recent characters (Jurassic park 3, Spanglish) as being her: shrill, neurotic, psychologically toxic. She's not playing a nice character here either, but she's dropped the twitchy mannerisms, and gone back to the work she did on TV that brought her to fame. Quirky, yes, but drop dead funny!Keen, sharp and scintillating with her tongue.

    Kingsley is good, but dozens of actors could have pulled this off as well. Pullman is great, his preppy looks smooshed behind coke bottle glasses, and large old suits that make him look weak and decadent. But the movie belongs to Leoni!
  • doubleo4 July 2007
    Stylistically uneven, and a bit rough around the edges, this film still gets points for proposing a rather unusual, and interesting, moral dilemma, sensitively tackling some tough emotional subjects, and marvellous, if somewhat one-dimensional, performances from the entire cast. Particularly notable is Bill Pullman, as a morally corrupt sleazy drunkard realtor. There is some truly great dialogue, though the humour is a bit flat and heavy-handed throughout. It is during the dramatic parts that the film redeems itself, and feels genuine and authentic. The second and third acts are tighter than the first - or, perhaps, one just gets used to the quirkiness of it by then.

    Miss Leoni's hair looks especially terrific, and some of the San Francisco shots are quite beautiful.
  • Comedy? What's so funny about watching an ugly deadbeat alcoholic attending 6 sessions (by the time I turned it off) of alchoholics anonymous? Set off by a woeful script of grunts and mumbles and drunken slurrings. Served up with lashings of Hollywood's religious "God will Save you" redemption drivel Another Reviewer mentioned the "Sassy dialogue" of Tea Leone - well I managed to watch nearly an hour of this boring film and I still haven't seen any sassy yet - in fact my 80 year old grandmother has more amusing comebacks than Tea's character in this rubbish. Tea is more stony faced and shows less emotion than Keanu - in fact one wonders if she too isn't addicted to something - maybe botox her face is so wooden? Save yourself from being killed with boredom from this film.
  • THE GOOD - A very interesting film, start-to-finish, with a little action, romance, humor, melodrama, suspense....a good combination of a lot of things. The acting is good, led by the always-fascinating Ben Kingsley who plays the lead role. There was a good contrast in the areas: the snowy cold of winter in Buffalo and the dry and brighter look of San Francisco. I like the supporting actors in here, beginning with Dennis Farina as "O'Leary." He's another actor that always gets your attention. The movie also gives a nice plug for Alcoholics Anonymous. I kept waiting the smart remarks about it, but they surprised me on that one. Respect was given for the no-nonsense approach given by that famous organization which has helped a lot of people.

    THE BAD - Even though it's "dark humor," the messages in here are in frequently enough that I believe Hollywood, in its twisted thinking, would actually go along with a lot of opinions expressed such as alcoholism being a more serious problem than being a hit-man! (Hey, they are only shooting other bad guys, right?) Tea Leoni's character was stupid and too profane. No woman, especially someone with her looks and brains, would go for an aging, drunk-killer. Puh-leeze. Also, being from the Buffalo area, I didn't care for the cheap shots on the city, either. People here are tired of that.

    OVERALL - Despite a few things, like Leoni, that were a little sleazy and unrealistic, I found the movie a good one in that it entertained me all the way. This is a strange film, certainly not one that is going to be a hit with the public but if you like something different, something a little "dark" yet romantic, you'd probably like this film. It's quirky, which seems to be the kinds of films Kingsley has been doing the past decade ("Sexy Beast," "House Of Sand And Fog," etc.)
  • From the screenwriters of the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe comes the R-rated black comedy You Kill Me. It's an odd pairing, but at least you can say these guys have range. To helm this film, about a hit-man whose drinking problem has caused sloppiness and perhaps the demise of his Polish gang in Buffalo, we have John Dahl. I am a huge fan of Rounders, so I was hoping for some of the same here, with a dramatic arc that worked and made sense intelligently, but also bringing the laughs that the trailer promised. Thankfully this film doesn't disappoint. Yes, there are some moments of disbelief, but the dry, straight-laced delivery of everything else makes up for the leaps in logic that would otherwise eat at me for the duration. While not laugh-out-loud funny, Dahl has put together a nice slow burning comedy that allows its characters to live and breathe realistically and evolve in a somewhat believable manner.

    Our aforementioned hit-man is played brilliantly by Ben Kingsley. I remember when I used to look at him as just Ghandi, but after the diverse catalog of films he has done recently, I've realized that he isn't afraid to branch out into darker fare. His role here has a lot going for it in comedic terms—he is an alcoholic, a loner that kills for money, and a resident of the arctic pole of Buffalo. Put all that together and you can think of a few funny situations for him to get into. To the filmmakers' credit, though, we never really get any of that except for the opening "job." When Kingsley's Frank sleeps through the one big job he is relied on to do, everything falls apart. What happens next is his journey to sobriety and friendship/love to pull him through to an understanding about what he really is living for. What worked for a film like The Matador couldn't be as effective here. Frank isn't having a nervous breakdown or losing his cool, he is off the job seeking help so that he can go back on the payroll. We don't need him to drunkenly wave a loaded gun at people, the comedy instead comes from his fish-out-of-water situation, being a cold-hearted killer trying to warm up to recovering alcoholics and a community he is not used to being sober around.

    Kingsley definitely plays the role to perfection, never faltering from his matter-of-fact tone or takes no crap attitude. Everything out of his mouth is carefully orchestrated and he is not one to waste his own or others' time. This fact makes some scenes hilarious because of the reactions from those he is speaking to. When he speaks from the heart and seriously, while sprinkling in his own experiences murdering people, during AA meetings, the utter silence and occasional Amen from the audience is gold. Besides his unfaltering demeanor and his sardonic sarcasm, it is when he plays off of love interest Téa Leoni when some of the best laughs occur. These two have a wonderful rapport and when they go at each other rapid fire, with one quip/comeback after another, you'd think it was all ad-libbed—the timing is that good. Leoni has been surprising me lately with her career. I don't know why I used to think she was annoying, but recently having seen films like House of D and her early work in Flirting With Disaster, I realize that she is good at both the dramatic and the comedic.

    The who's who of supporting players also does a nice job anchoring the story. Luke Wilson seems to really just be playing himself, but the laidback friend is what is needed for the role. Philip Baker Hall and Dennis Farina show how it's done as two rival mob bosses in Buffalo, (yes, I said mob bosses in Buffalo, I'm constantly scared for my life when walking around downtown at night). Their storyline is handled well and counteracts the subtle humor going on at rehab in San Francisco with some tense moments trying to keep the Polish afloat at the hands of the ever increasing Irish crew. Mention is also needed for Bill Pullman who has been making some good choices of late in small supporting roles. His self-absorbed real estate agent is entertaining because his ego won't let him be intimidated by the killer he is conversing with.

    The laughs may not come over and over again, but when they do it's smartly and appropriately. The fact that everyone in San Fran who hears Kingsley is a hit-man just accept it like someone saying they washed their clothes that morning is a bit rough to get by, but really it doesn't matter in terms of plot progression. The writers also try to distill the problem with Frank saying how it's Alcoholics "Anonymous," which brings a smile to your face for nothing more than the corniness of the line. I also don't know how perfect placing the movie in Buffalo was. It seems the writers needed a cold, drinking town up north and our wonderful home of Buffalo was the first to come to their heads. When was the last time you heard about the Irish and Polish mob going to war while the Greeks stood back to see who came out on top? Yeah, that's right, never. I did like the touch of hometown words by naming an Irish bar Scajaqueda. Just proves again these guys had no clue what they were doing with location. Overall, though, the film works despite any of its shortcomings.
  • Seanzzer17 August 2008
    This is possibly one of the worst movies I have had the dis-pleasure of watching in my entire life. The plot is ridiculous and the characters are horrible people. I watched this film with 3 friends and we all agreed to turn it off 30 minutes before the end. Ben Kingsley's character is just plain stupid but not funny at all. It is a wonder why an actor of his talent would be involved in such tripe. Tea Leoni does a fine Hillary Clinton impression throughout to portray the very cold and uninteresting female lead who has all the endearing qualities of a broom handle. Throw in a pointless and unexplained sub-plot and a horribly cringe worthy montage, and you end up with a waste of 93 minutes (60 in my case). Avoid this film at all costs!
  • Frank Falenczyk: It isn't that I'm sorry I killed them; it's that I'm sorry I killed them badly.

    Wow! Talk about a swing and a miss. You have a great cast and a great plot with endless do you f_ck that up?! Well, apparently John Dahl has found a way. With an atrocious screenplay featuring jokes about as funny as a malaria epidemic and dialogue so painfully dry it makes none of the characters likable, 'You Kill Me' might be the biggest cinematic failure of 2007. On a positive note, Ben Kinglsey provides another great performance as the alcoholic Polish hit man trying to get clean but the material he has to work with is crap. Tea Leoni is good as well as is Luke Wilson, Dennis Farina, Bill Pullman, Philip Baker Hall and the rest of the cast. I guess the best way to describe 'You Kill Me' is a terrible movie with good performances. Grade: D+
  • hyperbart2 November 2007
    Good cast, and story that has potential. But the movie is just plain booooooring due to bad character development. Ben plays good but never let's us get close to his character Frank or reflect anything of ourselves onto him.

    Besides that, the movie never really get's funny. And it's just all very unrealistic at times.

    Conclusion: I stopped this movie about 4 times while watching it and had the hardest time to start watching it again. I'm surprised I got it all the way to the end. It's just plain boring!!!

    Just rent something else...
  • ndivita21 July 2007
    I love Ben Kingsley and Tea Leoni. However, this is easily the worst movie I have seen in 10 years, and I see my share of movies. A stinker. This is a bad idea for a movie, poorly executed. Nothing about it is funny, credible or interesting. I was looking for wit, irony and genuine humor. Instead, this looked like most of the cast members wandered on to the set to do Tea Leoni a favor. It's too bad such acting talent was wasted on such hollowness. Don't bother. I have to wonder what opinion the makers of this movie have of their audience to subject them to the idea of Polish gangsters in Buffalo, NY sending a contract murderer to San Francisco to become a mortuary assistant while attending AA meetings. Bill Pullman should begin reading scripts before he agrees to be in a movie. Sad.
  • rajdoctor5 October 2007
    A few things attracted me to go and watch this movie. One, Ben Kingsley; second, knowing that this is a different gangster movie; and third, it is a dark comedy.

    The story is about an alcoholic hit man Frank Falenczyk (Ben Kingsley) who is sent (by his gang) to California to attend workshops of Alcoholic Anonymous because he misses out on his jobs of killing people. Frank is also forced to work at a mortuary – cleaning and preparing dead people's body for funeral ceremonies. Here he meets Laurel Pearson (Tea Leoni) and both like each other and fall in love. The gangster war eliminates most of his gang and Frank returns to avenge the killings. Laurel helps Frank in his taking revenge, finding love and getting over his alcoholic problems.

    The movie tried hard to be different. The movie also tried to present itself as something intelligent and above the rest. And that were its problem. The story was obviously different, the script and treatment were bad. The dialogues – though sounding witty and intelligent – sounded forced and stupid. It did not bring any smiles on my face. I think the casting also was poorly done. Ben Kingsley, though a great actor was a miscast. The love affair between Ben and Tea did not have any chemistry throughout the movie. I could not understand the motivation of Tea to be so flirtatious with Ben to begin with.

    Only two saving grace that I could remember from the movie – first, the musical score by Marcelo Zarvos – which I think was quite good and second, the 5 minute long gangster shootout scene in the middle of the movie – that was glueing.

    Director John Dahl who has found his comfort zone in making thrillers; fails to attempt a different genre with same backdrop characters and story.

    (Stars 4.5 out of 10)
  • An almost amusing film about alcoholism and killing. Some mildly amusing moments infrequently interspersed by long periods of tedium and nothing. Kingsley, as always, understated and solid.

    Leoni, although miscast, also solid. The "chemistry" between her and Kingsley is non-existent.

    A so so movie that will wile a bit of spare time if you are bored to death..
  • I can say that I have really killed my time with this movie. There is nothing happening in it, it is a mixture of stories in which a hit-man after fails to fulfill a mission as he slept, is sent by his uncle to San Francisco to take a little vacation to recovery. Here he goes to meet a group of alcoholics anonymous where he meets his contact person. He takes a part-time job at a funeral home where he meets his half and after being an average woman reaches by the end of the movie to be a professional assassin only after he showed her some techniques of handling the knife. Too bad the movie did not come out much better especially with a cast so great.
  • Mahatma Gandhi as a professional hit man? Believe it or not, it works. Ben Kingsley plays Frank, an enforcer for the Buffalo Polish Mafia who blows a major hit because he falls into an alcoholic stupor, and his bosses send him to San Francisco to join A.A. and get clean and sober. Meanwhile, the guy he was supposed to kill and didn't, Irish gangster Edward O'Leary (played by "Law and Order" veteran Dennis Farina, looking considerably less rumpled here), makes an alliance with the Chinese gangs that threatens to put the Poles out of business. Meanwhile, Frank's "minder" (Bill Pullman) gets him a job at a mortuary, leading to a meet-cute in which he falls in love with the stepdaughter of one of his clients (Téa Leoni) and acquires a Gay man as his A.A. sponsor (a marvelously warm performance by Luke Wilson in a role that in other hands would have been offensively clichéd). Though most of the situations here are so old they have lichens growing on them, director John Dahl and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely put enough fresh spins on them as to make this movie a pleasant time-filler, even though Wilson's character is yet another one of those annoying parts in which we're told he's Gay but we never actually see him romantically or sexually involved with a man.
  • I went to this film full of hope. With so many capable and humorous actors headed up by Sir Ben I thought this is going to be a little treat.

    Oh how I felt like gouging my eyes out as the credits rolled. That I had wasted 93mins of my life this film that was clearly DOA. There are some real problems with this film and it will probably be easier to list them; 1. No jokes, I am not particularly hard to please comedically - high or low brow - but there really is not one laugh in this film.

    2. Sir Ben mumbles through every single line whether he is supposed to be drunk or not?!? 3. There is no effort to to begin let alone develop the relationship between the love interests in this. 2 people bumping into each other randomly in the street would instantly have more rapport.

    4. All the acting talent that is assembled is completely wasted. Don't be fooled into watching this because of the names.

    5. For a cold ass hit-man he rubbed out more people in Gandhi than this flaccid waste of time (a by the way dyed beards look really creepy) I was hoping that this was a slow burner but in the end the only thing that could inject any life - and justice - into this is Frank pulling out his 9 and offing the whole cast starting with Tea and ending with himself - sorry it was that bad.
  • The writers compose at about 8th grade level, as would be expected from these two shallow minds. Too bad Hollywood "insiders" get the most consistent nod when scripts are chosen for projects. One thing clear from this effort, the Santa Monica gene pool of writing talent is suffering drought, and severe inbred conditions.

    Leoni flashed (at times) almost as much talent as in Spanglish. Kingsley has proved conclusively that Ghandi was indeed a fluke and he has, alas, gone "totally Hollywood". Farina was fun to watch, but how many more times can he reprise that exact character?

    Cast cannot save this flop. It was enlightening to learn that executive Producer Leoni can help bring a film in on time and near budget, but is that really the best use of her talent? Rewrite this uninspired computer-produced script and program in more of the necessary basic elements.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Ben Kingsley reprises some of the gangster cool but none of the cockney fury of his gangster from "Sexy Beast" in the lead role of Frank Falenczyk, a supposedly Polish-American hit-man for a Polish-American gangland family/snowplow concern, though for the life of me Frank speaks as if he's got an Irish accent (and he's called "Francis" for much of the movie, mucking up my ethnic stereotypes). Dealing with his deadly, deadening job in the career-wise nowheresville of Buffalo NY is difficult, so Francis drowns his boredom in alcohol, which dulls his efficacy hit-man-wise. He's sent by his boss (Philip Baker Hall) to sunny San Francisco, where -- sponsored by an understanding tollbooth guard (Luke Wilson) in an insanely tolerant AA meeting, and getting involved with an even more insanely supporting beautiful woman (Tea Leone, who's made a fortune from these kinds of roles), Francis decides to dry out, straighten up, and become the best darned hit-man he can possibly be.

    A lot of this movie will seem familiar to fans of the SOPRANOS, and will seem, in comparison to that greatest of TV shows, remarkably frivolous. (It doesn't help that Sir Ben Kingsley killed, so magisterially, in the Sopranos episode in which he appeared.) Director John Dahl (Red Rock West, The Last Seduction, The Great Raid) seems overwhelmed by the deliberately indie quirkiness of the script; he gains momentum, although only briefly, during the one big action sequence. Luke Wilson underplays his role so unmemorably, it's seems strange that he's credited at all: he could have been, for all intents and purposes, a cameo.

    What elevates this movie are Kingsley and Leone. Kingsley seems weirdly detached from what seems intended to be a comedic role; he's so amazingly expressive, and a few wry moments are made from close-ups of his face alone. And Tea Leone (who co-produced) is a fascinating actress. Her timing's quirky and yet never unnatural; her character is never more than two-dimensional, but the viewer can never be quite sure exactly which two dimensions are being inhabited at any time. Whenever she's on the screen, even in the predictable third act, you're not quite sure where she's coming from, where she's been, where she's going. The movie would have been much more interesting if it centered itself on her.
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