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You Kill Me

John Dahl


You Kill Me
Directed by: John Dahl
Frank (Ben Kingsley), You Kill Me’s main character, is an alcoholic, living in Buffalo. He drinks on the job, and passes out at work. Fed up, Frank’s boss sends him to San Francisco to rehabilitate. After that, the film’s jam-packed with “rehab movie” conventions: Frank forges a reluctant bond with his sponsor (Luke Wilson), falls off the wagon briefly, and eventually learns to live his life and do his job, booze-free. It’d all be terribly inspiring, if Frank wasn’t a hit-man for the Polish mob. “I want to do it again. I will do it again. But I know now, the only way I’m going to get to do it again is if I stop drinking, forever,” he tells his fellow AA-attendees,

speaking about his job. They nod supportively. As an entry in the “humanized mobster” genre (think Grosse Point Blank, The Sopranos, Analyze This), You Kill Me doesn’t have much new to bring to the table. And some of its jokes fall flat. But it is a fun spin on the standard rehab movie, and its best moments come when it tweaks that genre’s self-serious conventions---like when Frank tries to make amends for past mistakes by sending a $25 gift certificate to the survivors of the guy he offed in a Dairy Queen parking lot. “That’s no way to die,” Frank observes morosely.
Lindsay McCarney

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