KILL ME THREE TIMES (2015)
Starring Simon Pegg, Sullivan Stapleton, Alice Braga, Teresa Palmer, Callan Mulvey, Luke Hemsworth, Bryan Brown and Steve Le Marquand.
Screenplay by James McFarland.
Directed by Kriv Stenders.
Distributed by Magnolia Pictures. 90 minutes. Rated R.
It seemed like finally, two decades hence, we’d made it past the Quentin Tarantino-wannabe films. You know, those blood-stained movies populated by cheerfully amoral, cold-hearted, dim-witted criminals and femme fatales who violently scheme and blunder their way through double crosses and misadventures, raising eyebrows and the body count as they offer droll commentary on the heartlessness of the world?
Well Kill Me Three Times feels like director Kriv Stenders (whose last film was the family-friendly Red Dog) finally saw a bootlegged download of Pulp Fiction and said “Eureka! I wanna do that!”
And then, to make things a little more inexplicable, he decided to film it in a gorgeous remote section of the Australian coastline.
I will give him this. The setting is absolutely spectacular.
Too bad it’s also the most enjoyable part of his violence-fetish movie in which a lot of very unlikeable people do terrible, bloody things to each other. All the while the camera voyeuristically captures every splatter of oozing body fluids as if the filmmaker were taking glamour shots.
There are eight characters in this film and each one is either murdered or nearly murdered at least a few times in the running time of the film.
The actors themselves are terrific, a very capable group who are unfortunately using their talents to portray characters who are much less interesting than the people who inhabit them.
The story sort of centers around Simon Pegg as a hard as nails hit man who descends upon the small beach community and finds himself drawn into a few not-very-well-thought-out murder plots. The role sounds like a meaty one for comedian Pegg and he throws himself into it with gusto, however the overwhelming mean-spiritedness of the script tends to curdle the periodic genuinely funny lines.
Pegg’s hitman is the outsider here – in fact, he turns out to often be simply be an innocent bystander who stumbles into this nest of vipers.
The main storyline revolves around Alice (Alice Braga), a gorgeous woman who is cheating on her abusive husband (Callan Mulvey) with a hunky local kid (Luke Hemsworth). The husband is the one who brought the hit man into the mix, asking him to find proof of the wife’s infidelity, and when it is found, to kill her.
However, he does not realize that his sister (Teresa Palmer) and her sad-sack husband (Sullivan Stapleton) are also planning on knocking Alice off, in an insanely convoluted insurance scam. Then there is the corrupt local sheriff (Bryan Brown), who is less interested in who is getting killed than he is in finding a way to profit by blackmailing the killers.
All of these people (besides the hit man) know each other, have hidden agendas and secret alliances with each other, and are more than willing to double cross each other for money or spite.
It all sounds more interesting and labyrinthine than it really is. Eventually you come to expect each and every plot turn. In the end, you really don’t care who lives or who dies – or even if anyone lives – which is not a good place for any film to find its audience.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2015 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: April 9, 2015.