Christopher Nolan’s Batman films jettisoned the cartoony extravagances of previous directors in favor of whatever amounts to realism in a comic book adaptation. But they were still more mythic operas than crime stories, whereas real-life criminal justice tends to be like the TV show Cops: grand theft Taurus, drunken aggravated assault, and skinny guys hiding in kitchen cabinets. Not the stuff anyone’s projecting diaphragm-bursting vowels about at the Met.
Writer-director Stuart Urban’s May I Kill U? opens with Baz (Kevin Bishop), a psychopathic London bicycle cop driven to vigilantism, smashing in the skull of a thief with a stolen flatscreen. He kills criminals after explicitly asking their permission and records their deaths, uploading the videos to YouTube and Twitter.
Despite the banality of the crimes he encounters, he uses social media to cast himself as a mythic Batman figure, and accumulates a cretinous following of archconservative fans. Too bad that Urban’s stab at black-comedy satire is hobbled by the obviousness of his characters.
Baz’s mum (Frances Barber) is a mean, overbearing drunk who berates him, dumps food in his lap, and actually insists on giving him baths. “To me,” says Baz, “there’s nothing sexier than a strong rightwing woman.”
Through a sequence of improbable and violent plot twists, another man is jailed for Baz’s crimes, confessing when he realizes he’ll inherit a large fan base, but Baz, a flat character, never changes. Strangling your own mother doesn’t amount to growth when she’s, like, the sixth person you’ve murdered.