By Scott Weinberg (originally published 1/22/08 -- Sundance Film Festival)
The title of Michael Keaton's directorial debut -- The Merry Gentleman -- is meant to be pretty ironic, because the only true gentleman in the movie is anything BUT merry. He is, as a matter of fact, a cold-blooded assassin who contemplates suicide after completing every contract. Even the normally perky Kelly Macdonald is generally quite miserable too, here playing a woman on the run from an abusive husband -- and a woman who just (unknowingly) became friends with that assassin guy.
Professional hitman Frank Logan is at the end of his rope. Clearly fed up with a life spent taking lives, Frank finishes up his latest contract, and then hops onto a rooftop ledge and considers a long plunge. At that same moment, on street level, a sweet young lady named Kate looks up to appreciate the new snowflakes -- and catches a glimpse of Frank. She screams, he slips and falls (backwards), and when the cops show up they find pretty much nothing. But the next morning (once a corpse is found in an upstairs office) two smart detectives pop up to ask Kate a few questions about the man she saw.
Needless to say, a killer of Frank's expertise is already well-aware of what the witness saw.