Review: May I Kill U? / Cert: 15 / Director: Stuart Urban / Screenplay: Stuart Urban / Starring: Kevin Bishop, Jack Doolan, Frances Barber / Date of release: May 15th
TV comedian/impressionist Kevin Bishop’s first adult foray into the world of feature films isn’t exact a laugh-a-minute rib-tickler. Bishop, best-known for lampooning the absurdly famous in his various Channel Four comedy vehicles, has opted for this bleak, blackly comic tale which plays, somewhat unsubtly, with contemporary, generally Press-fuelled fears of uncontrollable street violence and our reliance and dependence upon social media in an increasingly cold and unfriendly world.
Bishop plays unremarkable bike-riding PC Barry ‘Baz’ Vartis who suffers a nasty bang to the head courtesy of a couple of neighbourhood scuzzballs. Baz is transformed into a lethal police vigilante, dispensing his own street justice – it involves smashing people over the head with giant plasma TVs or forcing them into wheely bins and strangling them to death – which he films and then uploads to his own blog. But Baz, who quickly becomes a cult hero, has the good grace to ask his generally out-of-it victims if he can take their lives before he dispatches them. Which is nice.
May I Kill U? is really just too dark for its own good and nothing like as funny as it thinks it is. Bishop is largely deadpan as Baz and any humour tends to come from supporting characters such as his dreadful, alcoholic ex-prostitute mother (Barber) and Jack Doolan’s clumsy, lumbering Seth who, we discover, is holding Baz prisoner in his own home and attempting to make him atone for his crimes. But the film’s more concerned with its obsession with Twitter and text messaging, and its own clumsy morality – basically all criminals, especially foreign ones, are evil and worthless and should be brutally killed – might win a round of applause from Daily Mail readers but those of a saner disposition and sounder temperament might find its relentless one-sided tub-thumping and desperately dour and dislikeable characters difficult, if not downright impossible, to warm to, much less care about. Writer/director Urban doesn’t seem entirely sure of his prime targets so his approach is relentlessly scattergun, his material and subject-matter half-hearted and undercooked. May I Kill U? might raise the occasional smile but this is a weak, forgettable and pretty pointless exercise in ill-considered social commentary.
Extras: Audio commentary with Stuart Urban and Kevin Bishop / Making of / Interview with the director interview /Psychoanalysis feature/ Clips / Outtakes