A nested narrative structure, broken into several acts that fling the viewer forwards and backwards in time. Characters with duplicitous motivations. A suave problem solver with the last name Wolfe. Are you thinking of the same movie I’m thinking of? That’s right, it’s Kill Me Three Times. In director Kriv Stenders‘ sixth feature film, the Red Dog veteran takes us through what is, in theory, a darkly comedic thriller penned by screenwriter James McFarland. In practice, however, while Kill Me Three Times revels in excessively large displays of gushing blood and countless gunshots, it is painfully light on comedy and depth. Lead actor Simon Pegg plays Charlie Wolfe, a ruthlessly effectively assassin who is relegated to hiding behind Australia’s numerous bushes for the film’s first act as he watches dental aide Lucy Webb (Teresa Palmer) and hapless dentist Nathan Webb (Sullivan Stapleton) send Eagles Nest resident Alice Taylor (Alice Braga) hurtling over a cliffside. These opening scenes play well thanks to Stenders’ fluid directorial style and beautiful location choices that effectively establish the size and majesty of the film’s setting. Unfortunately, as the second and third acts of the film unfold, all the intrigue built up at the start of the movie is squandered. While Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction used the fluidity of its timeline to add sympathetic depth to its initially abrasive characters, Kill Me Three Times finds no time for frivolous things like character development. Instead, McFarland’s script unfolds mechanically. Each movement through the timeline shows another betrayal, which is quickly followed by threats and vengeful violence. Everyone in this film is exactly as cruel and duplicitous as the first act suggests they are, which nullifies the purpose of the nested narrative structure. The film’s only attempt at sympathetic character development is through the romance between Alice and local mechanic Dylan Smith (Luke Hemsworth), and neither character is given enough screen time to justify the audience’s emotional investment. The laughs in the film come few and far between. McFarland’s dialogue feels stretched, and is ultimately as synthetic and conventional as the narrative structure is. There is a stretch towards the end of the film that is genuinely humorous, but the film’s first half spends a painfully long time relegating Simon Pegg to the role of an observer rather than an active agent in the film’s diagetic world. The script gives him almost nothing to do besides chuckle and awe as terrible things happen around him. These moments are supposed to play humorously, but instead come off as a waste of Pegg’s considerable talents. Kill Me Three Times comes off as a hollow, imitative film with borrowed style and little substance to match. While all the actors provide decent performances with the material they’re given, Stenders takes no directorial chances and produces a conventional film that squanders its excellent cast on a script void of depth and lacking in wit. Worst of all, it is just fun enough throughout to leave viewers scratching their heads, wondering where it all went wrong. Advance Review: Kill Me Three Times (2015)Alexander's Rating2.8Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.