Kill Me Three Times

The title says it all – either die watching this film, or avoid it like the plague.

You know that dull period every year when you wait and wait for a blitz of summer movie attractions? Well, this is that period. Unfortunately for the general movie going populace, this is also the period when inferior film distributors peddle substandard films that otherwise wouldn’t stand a chance alongside summer blockbusters. If you’re thinking Kill Me Three Times falls square into this category, you’re catching on quickly, and here’s more on why you should save your money for films that are really worth it.

Using a non-linear approach in storytelling, director Kriv Stenders and debutant screenwriter James McFarland sets this humdrum crime caper somewhere on the picturesque shores of Western Australia. Straight off the bat, I’ll say that cinematographer Geoffrey Simpson’s stunning combination of aerial panorama and vivid topography is worth a mention, but precious little else I can think of. Hawked as an action-thriller, McFarland’s ruse is the intersection of central character Alice (Alice Braga) through a time-shuffling three-part segment that gets absurd by the minute. Everyone wants Alice dead, starting with her abusive husband Jack (Callan Mulvey), his sister Lucy (Teresa Palmer) and her dentist husband Nathan (Sullivan Stapleton) who owes money to a lowlife cop. So they come up with a half-hatched plan to kill Alice, switch dental records, and claim insurance money. But when Jack hires professional assassin Charlie (Simon Pegg) to kill Alice, the latter sets mayhem in motion and they all drop like flies. And just like that, the film ends before it begins.

One doesn’t have to be a genius to figure out that Stenders is a Tarantino fan. Aren’t we all? It’s always pleasing to pay homage, but provided the story and concept stays the course. Instead, McFarland’s setup is indecisively wedged between action-thriller and obscure comedy. One can argue that such is the concept behind Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown but those films were instant cult classics. Meanwhile, Stenders is not even close, and instead settles for a final act with gratuitous blood-letting. And speaking of comedy, funnyman Pegg isn’t so funny anymore. Sporting a handlebar mustache and equipped with an opening scene explicative that is supposed to be funny, Pegg is totally miscast even if he is trying his hand at more serious stuff.

Kill Me Three Times is the type of film cinema chains would rather boycott but screens it only because they are forced into some sort of dodgy contract with nefarious film distributors. It is also the type of film you are forced to watch only because you have seen everything else on the cable network. Even then, watching paint dry would be a better option. But hey, don’t just take my word for it; the title says it all – either die watching this film, or avoid it like the plague. Better still, boycott this film for the greater good of cinema and save those precious pennies for the movie event of the year – Avengers: Age of Ultron. You can thank me later.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

About Lloyd Bayer

Besides his passion for travelling, photography and scuba diving, Lloyd is a prolific film critic having contributed hundreds of film reviews to web and print journals, including IMDb and local daily Khaleej Times.