Kill Me Three Times
dir Kriv Stenders
scr James McFarland
prd Tania Chambers, Laurence Malkin, Share Stallings
with Simon Pegg, Sullivan Stapleton, Alice Braga, Teresa Palmer, Callan Mulvey, Luke Hemsworth, Bryan Brown, Steve Le Marquand
release UK Oct.14 lff, Aus 28.Nov.14, US 10.Apr.15
14/Australia 1h31
Kill Me Three Times
Crash and burn: Pegg

stapleton braga palmer
london film fest
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Kill Me Three Times Straining to mimic Pulp Fiction with three overlapping bag-of-cash stories, director Stenders and writer McFarland take far too long to piece things together into anything resembling a coherent plot. It's enjoyable watching the blackly comedic events come together, but it's so elusive that it never draws the audience in.

In rural Australia, heavily armed hitman Charlie (Pegg) is trailing Alice (Braga) as she is kidnapped by her dentist Nathan (Stapleton) and his assistant Lucy (Palmer). But their nefarious plan doesn't go as expected. It turns out that Alice is married to barman Jack (Taylor) but has run off with Dylan (Hemsworth). As a cop (Brown) noses around, everyone seems to want Charlie to kill someone else for them. And there's a bag of cash that continually changes hands, further compromising each person's moral compass. Various crosses and doublecrosses ensue.

The film has a snarky comical tone with sudden matter-of-fact violence and a lively score, all of which heighten the comical Tarantino vibe. But the story has been chopped to ribbons and reassembled out of sequence, cycling back on itself to fill in the annoying gaps later. This makes everything feel utterly incomprehensible until it's contextualised later. And it makes it infuriating to figure out who these people are and how they're interconnected.

As a result, the strongly comical performances never quite spring to life. Without a sense of the bigger picture, the clever details the actors add to their characters never mean anything. So the film feels like a bunch of random people running around doing violent things to each other for no reason. Eventually, the meanings begin to emerge, but by the time things begin to come into focus it's far too late to care, Especially since it's clear early on that very few will still be standing at the end.

Despite the darkly desperate plot, director Stenders keeps the film bright and sunny, with plenty of comical energy and a strong use of the settings. So the film looks great, even if the writing and direction are relentlessly misogynistic. The women are either helpless or dangerous (and naked), while the men are bold and tough (and clothed). But everyone is stupid. So even when the whole picture finally emerges from the chaos, the movie is nothing more than pointless and silly.

cert 15 themes, language, violence, sexuality 23.Apr.15

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