Comic noir down under: Kill Me Three Times (my review)

A Comic thriller

  • Written by James McFarland
  • Directed by Kriv Stenders

As Alfred Hitchcock well understood, a good thriller can carry a heavy load of dark humor. And since this particular thriller stars Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead), you come in expecting more laughs than thrills.

But make no mistake, Kill Me Three Times is first and foremost a thriller, although an unusually funny one–more Coen than Hitch. This is the sort of movie where a gruesome, bloody murder is interrupted by a ringtone, and the murderer delays pulling the trigger to answer the call.

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I can’t tell you a lot about the plot without giving too much of it away. The film tells its story three times, and each time, you learn a little more about what’s going on and why. It all makes delightfully dark sense in the end, and much of the fun comes in watching the various pieces fall into place.

I can tell you that Pegg plays the only professional killer in the story. But almost everyone here is perfectly willing to rub out one of their neighbors–in most cases for money.

For the most part, they want to kill Alice (Alice Braga). Their reasons vary.

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Kill Me has one long, extended, absolutely brilliant comic sequence. A dentist and his wife (Sullivan Stapleton and Teresa Palmer) attempt a very difficult and complex murder–one that’s supposed to look like an accident. But the dentist is helplessly inept, and Murphy’s Law reigns supreme. Remember this lesson: If you have an unconscious, intended murder victim in your trunk, try to avoid getting a flat tire.

All this is set, I might add, in a small coastal town in Australia, providing some beautiful scenery. That town appears to have about eight people in it. Almost all of them are evil.

The story, the graphic violence, the gruesome humor, and the downbeat view of human nature makes Kill Me feel a lot like the Coen brothers’ first film, Blood Simple. And like Blood Simple, by the time it’s over, no one outside of the audience knows the whole story. Even the dead people died without getting the full picture.

It’s a  totally enjoyable entertainment.