Film Review: Kill Me Three Times

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Kill Me Three Times Plot Summary

When hitman Charlie Wolfe (Simon Pegg) arrives in a small Australian town tasked with spying on a married woman named Alice (Alice Braga), he unexpectedly becomes entangled in a complicated murder plot.

Kill Me Three Times is part action thriller, part comedy — and neither part is any good. The action isn’t creative or even particularly well done, and the comedy lacks genuine wit—but at least it looks nice.

Photograph Credit: David Dare Parker
Photograph Credit: David Dare Parker

Kriv Stenders is a competent director. The shots are interestingly composed and full of beautifully over-saturated colors. If nothing else, it’s a pretty good travel advertisement for Australia—except for the film’s occasional bursts of violence, of course. The action is gory and stylized in that Tarantino where every gunshot wound is followed by bountiful and artful blood splatter.

There’s also more than a little Tarantino in the script. Taking a cue from films like Kill Bill Vol. 1, the film is divide into three parts–one for each kill–but it serves no purpose. The same character isn’t killed once in each section and there are a lot more than three deaths, so the choice just feels like a pointless gimmick. The plot structure also feels unnecessarily complex. Like Pulp Fiction, the events don’t unfold chronologically. The difference here is that the technique only serves to hide how unremarkable the story is, rather than set up thought-provoking comparisons between the characters. The story is convoluted, only occasionally surprising and shows the same events from multiple points of view so often that the film seems much longer than its 90-minute runtime.

If this were a Tarantino film, he would at least make the characters quirky or give them distinctive dialogue, but first-time writer James McFarland is too busy trying to impress us with plot acrobatics. Even when he manages to surprise us with a sudden death or unexpected twist, the characters are such basic archetypes that it’s hard to invest in their struggles or care who survives. They’re just pieces on a chessboard and the actors–try as they might–can only do so much with the thin material. The third Hemsworth, Luke, has neither his brothers’ looks nor their onscreen charisma. Braga just barely manages to make Alice sympathetic, but then women stuck in bad marriages usually are. Sullivan Stapleton (300: Rise of an Empire) plays a bumbling fool well and Teresa Palmer does a fine job playing the morally bankrupt femme fatale type. However, Simon Pegg is the reason most people will buy a ticket.

Photo Courtesy of Magnet Releasing
Photo Courtesy of Magnet Releasing

His fans will be happy to know he does the same tired put-upon act he does in every film. He played smart alecks much better in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz and Charlie is humorless and wily in a way that makes him unlikable despite Pegg’s charm. He’s an unremarkable post-modern twist on the kind of unscrupulous conman we’ve seen a million times before, and Pegg almost seems bored in the role. You can almost see how tired he’s growing of doing the same thing over and over again. And after sitting through Kill Me Three Times, even his biggest fans might feel the same way.

Rating: 3/10

Kill Me Three Times is now available On Demand, on iTunes and in theaters.


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By day, Marisa Carpico stresses over every detail of America’s election system. By night, she becomes a pop culture and celebrity obsessive. Whether it’s movies, TV or music, she watches and listens to it all so you don’t have to. You can find her risking her life by reading comic books while walking down the crowded streets of New York City, having inappropriate emotional reactions at her iPad screen while riding the subway or occasionally letting her love of a band convince her to stand for hours on end in one of the city’s many purgatorial concert spaces. You can follow her on Twitter to read her insightful social commentary or more likely complain about how cold it is at @MarisaCarpico.
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By day, Marisa Carpico stresses over America’s election system. By night, she becomes a pop culture obsessive. Whether it’s movies, TV or music, she watches and listens to it all so you don’t have to.