TIFF 2014: Kill Me Three Times
In a sunny Australian Beach Town, scheming runs amok in this witty tale of love and revenge. Everyone is out to kill Alice – from her conniving sister-in-law and weak-willed husband, to a not-entirely-competent Hit Man (portrayed very deftly by Simon Pegg, in a role that’s something like a combination of Nick Angel and Shaun – if you can imagine such a thing), and they nearly succeed, at least twice. Director Kriv Stenders along with his team, offer a visually compelling film along with twists and turns (both literally and figuratively), all while highlighting a beautiful Australian landsape.
I will see anything with Simon Pegg in it. Anything. And in the interest of full disclosure, Kill Me Three Times was my backup should I not be able to get tickets for Hector and the Search for Happiness. I wasn’t able, so here we are, watching a Genre-esque Australian Murder-Comedy. While it had elements which reminded me of TIFF hit Seven Psycopaths, it didn’t quite land as perfectly. The story offers enough twists to keep the viewer interested for the told-three-times storytelling. The playful tone of this film is evident from the get-go, and the non-cronological timeline reflects that. While it might not be the next Pulp Fiction, it’s a fun romp into the ridiculous, and I think that would appeal to many.
I knew immediately that I was going to love this film, the second I saw the still of Simon Pegg dressed in almost a parody of a Villain’s costume. And I was right, it cracked me up. The story is told in off-kilter chronology, akin to Pulp Fiction, but has its own goofy voice. Pegg’s character is a delightful combination of professional bravado and joyful buffoonery. He clearly delighted in the role and it makes an otherwise irredeemable character engaging and memorable. As the director put it, he’s a “Hit-or-miss Man”.
Twice a woman named Alice nearly meets her death, but with death being met out by complete idiots her survival is nearly guaranteed. In the Q&A the director was asked why there wasn’t a third kill. He actually didn’t seem to have an answer, saying that it was more about the subversion of expectations than anything else. But *adjusts film nerd glasses* I prefer to believe that Alice’s escape into a new life at the end is the third kill – killing off the bad and moving onto the good. That said, i’s really not a movie that tries to make you ponder any great mysteries of life. Instead it is a series of hilarious errors, each compounding the next, and an increasingly operatic series of deaths. If you’re having a rough day, then seeing a lot of bad guys get sweet and violent comeuppance is going to be just what you need.