Martin Blank is a professional assassin. He is sent on a mission to a small Detroit suburb, Grosse Pointe, and, by coincidence, his ten-year high school reunion party is taking place there at the same time.
Frank Falenczyk loves his job. He just happens to be the hit-man for his Polish mob family in Buffalo, New York. But Frank's got a drinking problem and when he messes up a critical assignment that puts the family business in peril, his uncle sends him to San Francisco to clean up his act. Frank is not a touchy-feely kind of guy, but he starts going to AA meetings, gets a sponsor and a job at a mortuary where he falls for the tart-tongued Laurel, a woman who is dangerously devoid of boundaries. Meanwhile, things aren't going well in Buffalo where an upstart Irish gang is threatening the family business. When violence erupts, Frank is forced to return home and with an unlikely assist from Laurel, faces old rivals on new terms. Written by
THE GOOD - A very interesting film, start-to-finish, with a little action, romance, humor, melodrama, suspense....a good combination of a lot of things. The acting is good, led by the always-fascinating Ben Kingsley who plays the lead role. There was a good contrast in the areas: the snowy cold of winter in Buffalo and the dry and brighter look of San Francisco. I like the supporting actors in here, beginning with Dennis Farina as "O'Leary." He's another actor that always gets your attention. The movie also gives a nice plug for Alcoholics Anonymous. I kept waiting the smart remarks about it, but they surprised me on that one. Respect was given for the no-nonsense approach given by that famous organization which has helped a lot of people.
THE BAD - Even though it's "dark humor," the messages in here are in frequently enough that I believe Hollywood, in its twisted thinking, would actually go along with a lot of opinions expressed such as alcoholism being a more serious problem than being a hit-man! (Hey, they are only shooting other bad guys, right?) Tea Leoni's character was stupid and too profane. No woman, especially someone with her looks and brains, would go for an aging, drunk-killer. Puh-leeze. Also, being from the Buffalo area, I didn't care for the cheap shots on the city, either. People here are tired of that.
OVERALL - Despite a few things, like Leoni, that were a little sleazy and unrealistic, I found the movie a good one in that it entertained me all the way. This is a strange film, certainly not one that is going to be a hit with the public but if you like something different, something a little "dark" yet romantic, you'd probably like this film. It's quirky, which seems to be the kinds of films Kingsley has been doing the past decade ("Sexy Beast," "House Of Sand And Fog," etc.)
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