“Hi, I’m Frank. I’m an alcoholic. I kill people for a living…this is anonymous, right?” –You Kill Me
This has got to be the strangest and funniest romantic comedy I’ve ever seen. You Kill Me begins in Buffalo, NY, with an alcoholic shovelling his snow filled lawn, by tossing and chasing after a bottle of beer across his front door. The story then throws you into his occupation and lifestyle as a Polish Mafia Hitman. Now, mix that to the list of failing his next job because of being an alcoholic, and suddenly being moved to San Francisco to attend AA meetings, while taking a side job as a mortician, and then think about the kind of dark humor this comedy was ready to deliver. The love interest comes, and soon all kinds of stupid just happens!
In a society still quoting The God Father, and just beginning to do the same with Fight Club, You Kill Me invites the action movie buffs to fall in love through a psychotic’s pathetic attempt to act normal in one of the gayest cities in California: San Francisco. It makes a great show when the love interest meets our protagonist, Frank (Ben Kingsley), as the sarcastic and morbidly humored, Laurel (Tea Leoni), flirt over a dead relative’s body, days before the funeral – only to ask her out on the day of. The relationship grows, as the two exchange wit throughout the first half of the film. The second half though…
Remember: Alcoholics Anonymous. Their meetings allow them to confess their problems – the more honest, the better the community can help console you. Sponsors become your personal aid to make the transition off alcoholism easier, and manage your mindset to relieve the struggle of one’s addiction. The key is to believe in a higher power – it can be God or a bridge, or other, so as long as it’s not you. Existentialism plays a huge role in this, as killing and romance become the challenge for Frank’s sad addiction, especially when his sponsor so happened to be gay. May I remind you that New York and homophobia were friends at the time, and maybe til forever. Ahem.
When the next funeral scene occurs, Frank becomes weak, and fails to avoid drinking one glass. Getting hammered, he nearly pulls the trigger on Laurel, and ends up recruiting her in his fight against his addiction. No surprise, right? But in exchange, to keep this secret and relationship, they spend time together practicing shanking techniques on each other, and writing apology letters to the families of Frank’s former victims. The whole film naturally does not entertain everyone, but the darkest of humors. Yet, with the charm of Tea Leoni and Ben Kingsley’s chemistry in this story, guns, love, and AA meetings have never been such an awesome combination.
If you’re into mafia films, sarcastic spitfires, and death, I urge you to see You Kill Me. Otherwise, move on. This can ruin any sensitive heart into their own bad habit. Enjoy with caution.