Film Review: Kill Me Three Times
Kill Me Three Times, directed by Kriv Stenders, opens with this pleasantly-worded opening line, ‘Fuck me. I can’t believe I’m going to die in this place.’
The explosive expletive uttered by Simon Pegg in the opening line is both confronting and hilarious when coupled with a shot of a moustached Pegg, possible poster boy for Movember 2015, who introduces himself as Charlie Wolfe, professional Hit Man who now lies ‘awaiting death’s cold embrace’ as he starts to recall the moments leading up to his slow and agonising death.
Through the use of first person narration, Wolfe (Pegg) quickly attempts to establish himself as a key character drawing upon a personal connection with viewers in order to garner empathy in regards to his dilemma of dying.
Omniscient and distant, Wolfe’s character encompasses the beginning and the end of the film but fails to show any significance throughout. My personal response to the opening scene was thus, ’No I’m not going to fuck you and I don’t care that you’re dying’. (Call me cruel but if I don’t know you I’m not going to care. Not one bit.)
Instead, Kill Me Three Times deviates from Wolfe’s death as he recalls how he came to be involved in the assassination plot of Alice (Alice Braga), wife of Motel Owner Jack (Callan Mulvey), who arranges to have Alice killed by Wolfe upon finding out that his wife has been unfaithful.
Kill Me Three Times attempts to play the role of charming homicidal maniac decorated with decent looking people, the majority of the cast being Australian besides Wolfe (Pegg) who speaks with a British accent that seems out of place, just like his character and the moustache that adorns his face.
Set in Eagles Nest Western Australia, Kill Me Three Times presents this sort of sadistic style of humour through its use of over-the-top blood splatter kills, greed filled characters, and casually presented threats. The plot to kill Alice, both by Wolfe and an array of characters is quickly met with hijinks providing a few laughs along the way.
The film presents an interesting exploration of structure and perspective, shifting between three different character accounts of the same incident throughout. Stenders’ use of different characters to retell a slightly different version of the story is clever, with the film being broken up into three segments titled, ‘Kill me once’, ‘Kill Me Twice’, and ‘Kill Me Three times’ each recounting the same incident from the perspective of a different character whilst revealing that there’s more to the story than meets the eye.
Shifting between multiple perspectives of characters however, removes any chance of an emotional attachment being formed between any of the film’s characters and the viewer watching. Stenders’ presents characters that are imperfect, identifiably flawed which should theoretically cause you to empathise with one of the characters at least.
What results is far from this. Not enough time is provided for the audience to develop a emotional attachment with any character presented in the story. Instead, viewers are left with an inability to care about the death of any particular character leading them to utter to themselves, ‘Kill me Three times.’
Despite these downfalls, Kill Me Three Times’ strength is in its fragmented narrative structure which explores the shifting perspectives between characters and classically scripted forms of miscommunication well known in the film genre. With its over-the-top kills which could possibly be perceived as a comedic slasher, Kill Me Three Times can’t really be classified as horror, murder mystery, or comedy but rather a mixed bag of confusingly hard-to-follow subplots.
Kill Me Three Times is available on Digital, DVD & Blu-Ray, September 9th.
Review by Addy Fong.