May I Kill U? Movie Review
A pitch-black sense of humour provides some strong laughs in this satirical British thriller, but the undercooked script never manages to hold onto our interest. Packed with coincidences and contrivances, the story is just too sloppy, even if there's a provocative point worth making in here somewhere.
At the centre is bicycle cop Baz (Bishop), who patrols southeast London as opportunistic crime is on the rise. At one hot-spot, he corners a looter and, in exasperation, asks for permission to kill him. The guy says yes, and Baz posts a video of the event on the web, disguising himself as an anonymous vigilante hero who's cleaning up the streets. Then things start to get strange. After he rescues a group of trafficked women, one of them (Koleczek) comes home with him, which annoys his bitter mother (Barber). He also befriends an elderly woman (Leach), who leaves him her house when she dies. And her nephew Seth (Doolan) isn't happy about this.
The story is framed by scenes of Seth interrogating Baz in a basement, so we see his vigilante spree in episodic flashback, including his awkward relationship with his partner (Axe), who barely suspects a thing. At least this adds some structure to the randomness of the overall narrative, which pings all over the place without filling in plausible details. But this also makes it impossible for Bishop to build any chemistry with his costars, even though all four main actresses are feisty and engaging. So the film as a whole begins to drag badly, never bringing any sense of focus to the loosely offhanded filmmaking style.
Along the way there are clever moments of telling satire, but the movie isn't much more than an absurd wish-fulfilment fantasy for anyone annoyed by the realities of urban life. Although here London's violence is exaggerated to the point of parody. If it's difficult to care what happens to unlikeable characters like this, at least the plot is unpredictable and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. But in creating a jaunty, silly tone, writer-director Urban undermines Baz's moral conflict. So even though Bishop's performance is cleverly endearing, there's nothing at stake for him.