Kill Me Later (2001) / Thriller-Romance
MPAA Rated: R for language and some violence
Running Time: 89 min.
Cast: Selma Blair, Max Beesley, Lochlyn Munro, O'Neal Compton, Brendan Fehr, D.W. Moffett
Director: Dana Lustig
Screenplay: Annette Goliti Gutierrez, Dana Lustig
Review published June 20, 2003
Kill Me Later is based on a short film of the same name, and that's probably how it should have stayed. At 90 minutes, there just isn't enough to sustain heavy interest without a lot of unnecessary padding, and that's just what we get for most of the duration. It's a fairly routine chase thriller, with a minor twist, concentrating on style since there's little in actual substance found in the script.
Alas, if a good film could be made out of this, it isn't going to be a the hands of co-writer/director Lustig, as she employs heavy and largely unnecessary doses of directorial masturbation throughout. Almost no scene is immune to her constant need for jump cuts, multiple angles, and color changes, which not only makes the proceedings highly disconcerting, it also cripples any chance that the narrative might become interesting. But then, with a script this anemic, there was little chance of that happening anyway, eh?
Selma Blair (Legally Blonde, Cruel Intentions) garners the starring role as Shawn, a woman whose life seems like a complete mess especially now that she is being jilted by her lover, who happens to be married and expecting a child. Several attempts at suicide have already been made, but today she decides to try the rooftop of a building, which just happens to also be where bank robber Charlie ends up being chased to as well. He takes her as a hostage, not aware that she's more than willing to die, but he bargains with her to play along, promising to kill her once they are in the clear. However, Charlie reneges on the deal, offering her money instead, and she accepts. In the meantime, the police have closed in again, and the two must keep running to secure the rest of the money and (hopefully) make their getaway.
The only real interest lies in the main plot point of a woman who goes along with playing a damsel in distress for the man to escape and kill her anyway. However, that's not really enough to last long enough to cover a whole feature film with, and indeed, it's gone after before only a third of the running length has expired. Filling up the remaining time is a bunch of angst over how crappy Shawn's life is, and she is also prone to pointing out how crappy Charlie's life is as well. We also follow the police on the case, but most of what they have to say seems superfluous to the main plot, existing only to fill up enough time to get to the 90 minute mark.
Kill Me Later is an independent film with a modest budget, and suffers from some weak supporting actors and unimpressive scenery. However, it's really the choice to go for the over-stylized direction that is the main contributor to the poor quality of the drama, so any difficulties in the production can't be blamed on a scant budget. If you're a fan of Selma Blair, or even Max Beesley, perhaps you might like seeing them deliver good work in a bad movie enough to watch it at least once, but it's quite a sacrifice you're making if you do. I'm not suicidal in the slightest, but while watching such shoddy attempts at slick cinema fall completely on its face, the phrase, "Kill me now," crossed my mind on more than one occasion.
©2003 Vince Leo