When you need the assistance of vodka to clear the snow from your driveway, it’s time for some changes, but Buffalo resident Frank Falenczyk (Ben Kingsley) has the decision taken for him when he screws up at work. He’s an assassin for the Polish mob and misses a hit, resulting in a trip to San Francisco for supervised drying-out. His minder (a seriously rumpled Bill Pullman) sets him up with an apartment, a job in a mortuary, and makes sure he gets to AA meetings. It’s one day at a time for Frank, and falling for bereaved Laurel (Téa Leoni) actually complicates his plans – what he really wants to do is get back to what he does best: killing people.
Eight years ago when screenwriters Christopher Marcus and Stephen McFeely wrote this skewed black comedy, it presumably reeked less of ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘Six Feet Under’, yet the fact the dysfunctional hitman flick has almost become a sub-genre shouldn’t distract from the fun a splendid cast have with this one. We know from ‘Sexy Beast’ that Kingsley can do scary, but here he’s menacing, vulnerable, and deftly comic all at once. Director John Dahl, veteran of neo-noir goodies including ‘The Last Seduction’, underplays everything, which renders the gangland subplot even duller than need be, but also stops the action from getting too self-consciously wacky. Kingsley and Léoni thrive in the circumstances, turning a creaky jet-black comedy-thriller into an endearing left-field surprise.
|Release date:||Friday December 7 2007|
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely|
Philip Baker Hall
Average User Rating
3.8 / 5
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This is a wonderful sleeper film 2007. It belongs to a fine tradition of hitman movies (see my list: Number One With a Bullet). This is a dryly humorous black comedy concerning a hitman whose job performance has been seriously compromised by a drinking problem. His employers try to get him back to top form by sending him off to dry out in an AA program. The talented John Dahl (check out his other fims) directed a great cast - Kingsley, Leoni, Pullman, Baker Hall and Dennis Farina. This film is closest to The Matador, Prizzi's Honor or Grosse Pointe Blank among the hitman films due to the humorous elements that enrich it.