KILL ME THREE TIMES was murdered thrice over by sourpuss critics in 2014, and was barely released before being shunted into disc exile. A raw deal, and one of those daft overkill cases where everybody and their keyboard piled on to bludgeon everyone connected. When the project is a black comedy crime thriller, it’s practically a commandment for the mortally offended to also namedrop St. Tarantino into their screed, just to clobber knobs with the nigh-unassailable Truth that no-one else is ever supposed to play in that sandbox. Get the wank over yourselves, already.
On the coast of Western Australia, bemused freelance hitman ‘Charlie Wolfe’ (Simon Pegg) finds his services include deciphering exactly who’s playing who in a three-tiered interrelated collage of blackmail, fraud and murder. Out to either escape or get each other are a domineering motel owner and his cheating wife, a dentist with gambling debts and his scheming receptionist, and a corrupt local policeman. Along with Pegg’s snappy-devilish change of pace as a calmly matter-of-fact assassin, lending sexy wiles to the tangle are Alice Braga (the wife who wants out) and Teresa Palmer (do all deceptive dental receptionists in Australia look like this? we hope), plus longtime fave Bryan Brown adds dry ice as the crooked copper.
Written by James McFarland, directed with flair by Kriv Stenders—if that’s not a Coen-cool name for a crook depictor I’ll lock stock a layer cake—who stages one of the coolest car-on-fire-over-cliff-into-ocean scenes this side of 007. The cinematography by Geoffrey Simpson (Fried Green Tomatoes, Under The Tuscan Sun) does justice to eye-watering locations in Western Australia, including Perth, Lancelin, Dalkeith, the Margaret River and Cape Naturaliste. Johnny Klimek’s energetic score wraps it up.
A sleek 90 minutes, with Sullivan Stapleton as the dentist in over his teeth, Callan Mulvey as hubby who needs to learn the hard way, and and Luke Hemsworth, innocent other than sleeping with Alice Braga: who can blame him? The mystifying negative reception to this neat little genre entry must have stung.