The main selling point of Kill Me Three Times is the casting of Simon Pegg, (Shaun of the Dead, Star Trek, Hot Fuzz), as a remorseless killer. This had me both interested and worried, because while I was very interested in seeing Simon playing against type the fact that was the biggest thing it had going for it made me worry about the film itself. And those fears are somewhat justified.
The film is a Pulp Fiction style tale of dirty deeds and double crosses that begins with the surveillance of a cheating wife and ends with a trail of corpses. The story is told in three segments, (hence the title), that shift in point of view and time frame like Pulp Fiction only on a smaller scale. And that is a large part of the problem, if this had been released in 1995 it would have still felt fresh, in 2015 we’ve seen it a few to many times.
Charlie Wolfe, (Pegg) is hired to kill Alicia, unfaithful wife of the abusive Jack. However her dentist and his receptionist beat him to it as part of an insurance scam to pay off his gambling debts. Or do they? From here the plot spirals off into a twisted mess of crosses, double crosses, robberies and infidelities as the small cast do their worst to each other with violent and darkly funny results.
And it’s the dark humor that is the film’s savior. When we first meet Pegg’s character he’s taking out somebody in the middle of the Outback and actually stops in the middle of it to take a phone call. That sets the tone for the rest of the movie. Everyone else is committing what amount to crimes of passion while Charlie is cold and detached, making deadpan comments as he kills for cash. The closest to him in tone is Bryan Brown’s corrupt cop, but he only makes what amounts to a couple of extended cameos.
The cast all do their best with the material with Pegg and Brown standing out, (no surprise there). Alice Braga does better than can be expected as Alice, the woman who starts everything off and Luke Hemsworth stands out as Dylan, the love struck gas station attendant who becomes an unexpected factor in the proceedings. The real star however may be the Australian cost, who’s natural beauty makes a stark contrast the ugly acts of the people living there.
In the end, Kill Me Three Times isn’t the film it could have been, it is better than a lot of Tarantino wannabes. Worth a watch for fans of the style.