You Kill Me: Just Shoot Me. No, Really

Back in the late '80s and early '90s, the Montana-born director John Dahl made a name for himself with a series of nifty, darkly comic neo-noirs bearing wonderfully hardboiled titles like Kill Me Again, Red Rock West, and The Last Seduction. The past decade has been less kind to Dahl, who's foundered with a series of bigger-budget studio assignments and only sporadically (as in 2001's Joy Ride) shown signs of his old B-movie mojo. Called You Kill Me, Dahl's latest has the outward appearance of a return to form but in fact may be the worst thing he's ever done—an inert, tone-deaf mélange of The Sopranos and Six Feet Under, about an alcoholic assassin (Ben Kingsley) in the New York Polish mafia who becomes a better man (and a better hit man) by joining AA and going to work in a San Francisco mortuary. The script supposedly kicked around Hollywood for years before attracting Sir Ben's interest, and its age shows in the torrent of rimshot-worthy gay and Polack jokes, the gay-but-not-gay-seeming AA sponsor (Luke Wilson), and the submissive love interest (Téa Leoni, a far cry from Dahl's usual steely dames) who doesn't mind that Kingsley's a killer as long as he's not, you know, gay.

 
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