Bicycling beat bobby Baz Vartis (Kevin Bishop) is a well-meaning but ineffectual community policeman with the kind of mother, Bernice (Frances Barber), Norman Bates would find it tough to love.
beat bobby Baz Vartis (Kevin Bishop) is a well-meaning but ineffectual
community policeman with the kind of mother, Bernice (Frances Barber), Norman
Bates would find it tough to love. Longing for adventure, for action, he dreams of detective
work, of shooting it out with real bad guys but is relegated to pounding the
streets on his bike and attending community meetings in the company of his
formidable partner, WPC Val Stone (Hayley-Marie
On the virtual eve of 2011’s London Riots, during a
scuffle with some local thugs, Baz sustains a personality-changing head injury,
turning the mild-mannered cycle cop into a psychopath. As London descends into anarchy, Baz
hits the streets, intent on dealing out his own brand of justice, starting with
the thug who caused his head injury whose brutal murder he films on his
helmet-cam, posting the anonymous footage on social networking sites and
becoming an Internet sensation.
Adopting the online persona @N4cethelaw, Baz soon finds his anonymous vigilantism has turned
him into a folk hero and he embarks on his own personal crusade, murdering the
lawbreakers who cross his path regardless of their crime; wife beaters, Eastern
European sex traffickers, elderly shoplifters, all are equal under the law
according to Baz and deserve to die.
But with Val getting suspicious, Bernice becoming increasingly unhinged
and petty thief Seth (Jack Doolan)
out for revenge, time may be running out for our vigilante hero…
A film that’s as
schizophrenic as its lead character, writer/director Stuart Urban’s (Preaching To
The Perverted, Revelation) black comedy may I kill U? may be
riding the zeitgeist as it touches on civil disorder, middle class paranoia,
Internet celebrity and happy slapping videos but its abrupt lurches in tone
from slapstick comedy to splattery gore and brutal violence are jarring, almost
as if the Carry On… team were
remaking Taxi Driver or Death Wish. It’s not as funny as it thinks it is, its TV sitcom look and
feel (particularly with the onscreen tweets and texts) calling to mind the
short-lived mediocrity of Pete Versus
Life (a TV sitcom in which Rafe Spall’s doofus sports reporter’s life is
punctuated by football commentary).
However this British coziness is somewhat at odds with the explicit
violence (particularly that first head bashing) of Baz’s mission. The
performances are good, particularly Kevin Bishop who’s more dipstick than Dexter, but may I kill U? feels like
it probably started out much darker, particularly in Baz’s quasi-incestuous
mother/son relationship, before being toned down for public consumption though
its inclusion of a trafficked Eastern European woman (beautiful Polish actress Kasia Koleczek) as a mute, submissive
romantic interest for Baz and the film’s hysterical, middle class (verging on
Daily Mail reader) fear of the underclass do leave a nasty taste in the mouth.
With the over-rated Sightseers
already in cinemas, it’s inevitable the two will be compared. While neither as funny or accomplished,
may i kill U? may be the more
pertinent of the two.