Kriv Stenders’ (Red Dog) latest film, Kill Me Three Times, primarily set in the stunning scenery around Lancelin, is a tale of murder, blackmail and fraud in a small surfing village. Starring Teresa Palmer, Callan Mulvey, Simon Pegg, Alice Braga and Luke Hemsworth with an appearance by audience favourite, Bryan Brown. Originally meant to be set in a quiet Irish Village, this film is drenched in both blood and sun, following the fractured story of a hitman (Pegg) charged with killing a young waitress (Braga), who then finds he’s not the only one wanting her dead.
Kill Me Three Times uses a popular modern-noir technique of the flashback, seeking to tell the story in three parts from different character’s perspectives; the style a slight reminder of Guy Ritchie’s work, and as fans asked in a recent Q&A, reminiscent of Pulp Fiction. Stenders replied that he had a healthy admiration of Tarantino, however his main influence was of the more obscure ‘crime-sploitation’ films of the 70s and 80s.
The story itself is an oldie, but a goodie – where money is the motivation, and each character is so flawed, you’re not sure who the ‘good guys’ are. Pegg’s character Charlie Wolfe is an efficient, if messy hitman who doesn’t hesitate with the trigger but seems to be constantly exasperated by his victim’s perseverance to live, which makes for much of the comedy in the film. Pegg plays the hitman with his own recognisable brand of comedy, which fans will love, however it seems to make him a little one dimensional, as we don’t really get to meet the ‘real’ Charlie which it seems we are promised at the start of the movie with a bit of internal monologue from him.
The sheer ineptitude of the dentist (Stapleton) and his wife (Palmer) and their ridiculous plan oddly doesn’t make you hate them, as much as stare in wonder at what they might do next.
Mulvey and Braga, a married couple who own the lonely bar in town are at odds with each other. A sure bastard, Mulvey’s character is a typical controlling husband who likes a drink. Something that we were sure to notice as he always had a glass of vodka in his hand. While Braga is painted as the delicate wife, until we see what she does to seek relief from her husband.
A good romp, which is enjoyable to watch, however the first flashback scene, was a little disjointed. It might just be my expectation of ‘hanging a lantern on it’ but it seemed out of place. However I soon forgot about it and got into the story. The only letdown visually was the absolute emptiness of a beach town, that for all appearances is in the middle of summer/spring – that place should be pumping! It stuck out like the proverbial, that our main characters were completely alone and free to stuff around and plan a murder or two. The town cop (Brown) certainly didn’t seem to have anything to do other than be a scare merchant.
A retro surfing riff soundtrack added to the appeal and look of the film, and if you can handle the blood and sarcasm you’ll enjoy it, however it’s not as memorable as Stenders’ other efforts such as the irrepressible Red Dog, and the interesting and gritty Boxing Day. The cast do a fantastic job and by rights, should be an Aussie favourite for years to come.
Kill Me Three Times: 3.5/5
Directed by: Kriv Stenders
Starring: Simon Pegg, Steve Le Marquand, Alice Braga, Teresa Palmer, Sullivan Stapleton, Luke Hemsworth, Callan Mulvey and Bryan Brown
Review by: Rebecca Caldwell