Fast-Paised review: 'You Kill Me'

Since his alcohol abuse interferes with his job as a hitman, Frank (Ben Kingsley, as scene-devouring as ever) is sent from New York to San Francisco to clean up, join AA and work in a morgue. While a violent territorial standoff continues between the Polish and Irish in N.Y., in S.F. Frank meets an available woman (Tea Leoni), a sponsor/tollbooth worker (Luke Wilson) and a sleazy real estate agent (Bill Pullman).

Big question: Is "You Kill Me" anything more than a forgettable little indie character piece?

Catch it: This is the kind of movie actors do for themselves, but "You Kill Me" offers plenty of benefits for us as well. With dark laughs and darker personal regressions, the flick not only knows how to crack wise but how it feels to take two steps back for every one forward.

Skip it: If, like Frank, you can't even shovel your walk without taking a swig from the bottle.

Bottom line: The ethnic war isn't as interesting as Frank's personal battle, and Lauren's (Leoni) too quickly agreeable to Frank's sinister side to be believed as a serious love interest. But you're here for the performances, and as a likable Leoni serves up the sympathy, Kingsley is happy to drink it down.

Bonus: Happy news for anyone with a drinking problem, as Tom (Wilson) tells Frank that an alcoholic's god is forgiving. It's also made of porcelain!

Matt Pais is the metromix movies producer.

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'You Kill Me'

Directed by John Dahl; screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely; photographed by Jeffrey Jur; edited by Scott Chestnut; music by Marcelo Zarvos; production design by John Dondertman; produced by Al Corley, Bart Rosenblatt and Eugene Musso. An IFC Films release; opens Friday. Running time: 1:32. MPAA rating: R (for language and some violence).

Frank - Ben Kingsley

Laurel - Tea Leoni

Tom - Luke Wilson

Edward O'Leary - Dennis Farina

Roman - Philip Baker Hall

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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