Film Review: Kill Me Three Times (USA, 2014)

Kill Me Three Times is a black comedy/thriller that sees professional assassin Charlie Wolfe (Simon Pegg) tangled up in a web of deception tying together the rural lives of a dentist (Sullivan Stapleton), a bartender (Callan Mulvey) and his lover (Alice Braga) in Western Australia. Unfortunately, despite the messy fun of this premise and the potentially-subversive casting of Pegg, the results here are disappointingly mediocore.

Kill Me Three Times borrows heavily from the non-linear storytelling approach popularized by Tarantino‘s Pulp Fiction. It explores the events of the film’s two-day timespan from the perspective of each character – with each cycle of the parallel narrative gradually exposing more of the bigger picture. Unfortunately, Kill Me Three Times uses this device a little too readily and often bogs itself down by revisiting the same footage again and again.

Either by design or by budget, Kill Me Three Times is very small in its scope and ambitions. While such constraints can often enable great writing to shine – the opposite is true here with the choppy script constantly under the spotlight. Even characters written as cliches can work in the right circumstances but here they come off as lazy – and worse boring.

That said, there are some fun-but-forgettable performances that hold the film together. Bryan Brown’s corrupt police officer has his moments, as does Teresa Palmer’s over-the-top Lucy. Simon Pegg’s character actually feels like he fell out of another movie – which occasionally works to the movies benefit. His performance has a number of quirky little beats to it but even he can’t completely escape the dull drawl of the film’s script.

The soundtrack of the film is its other main redeeming quality. It adds a layer of energetic fun that’s sometimes just enough to distract from the film’s flaws. If you’re absolutely desperate to see Simon Pegg in another espionage role after that last Mission Impossible, this *might* be just be competent enough to meet that criteria – but even then it’s pretty hard to recommend.

Review Score: ONE AND A HALF (OUT OF FIVE)

Kill Me Three Times will be available on DVD, Blu-Ray and through digital platforms on September 9th.

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