Director: John Dahl; Writers: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
With Ben Kingsley, Tea Leoni, Luke Wilson, Dennis Farina, Philip Baker Hall, Bill Pullman
Frank (Kingsley), the Polish-American nephew of a fading mob boss in Buffalo, N.Y., has a drinking problem that interferes with his work, which is killing rival gangsters. So his uncle (Hall) sends him to San Francisco to join an Alcoholics Anonymous program, dry out and get his life and his aim back. His Frisco contact (Pullman) gets him a job at a funeral home, where he meets the smart, attractive, strangely unattached Laurel (Leoni). Romance, rehabilitation and revenge merrily ensue.
A B movie in the best sense witty script, sharp performances, modest budget, no pretensions beyond its means You Kill Me gave me more honest entertainment than any other movie this year. In a brief making-of promo on the DVD, Kingsley describes the film as "a romantic comedy thriller, fully exploring all those three ingredients." Killings and kisses and laughs, oh my! Anyway, smiles, honorably earned, in the solemnity with which Kingsley carries himself, in the warmth kindled between Frank and the very forthright Laurel, in Pullman's quirky-shady body language, and in the interplay of Hall, who runs his gang like a mom-and-pop store, and the smiling-cobra younger mobster Farina. Anyway, it's better than Gandhi.
In a happy coincidence, my two favorite sort-of comedies of 2007 this and Guy Maddin's "docu-fantasia" My Winnipeg were both made in Manitoba. But you don't have to be Canadian to love movies made there. Two words for this DVD: Get it.
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