Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Kill Me Three Times

The thrust of the review: There is a really good movie in here that is pretty well done in by the filmmakers desire to not just make that movie, but make it in a clever way. It's really perverse, in some ways: It's got one of those "flash-forward to the end" bits that are starting to get a fair amount of backlash, and it's probably even more egregious than most, because it's got the only bit of Simon Pegg's character narrating. There's no particular stinger of how the situation isn't how it originally looked, or even a The Opposite of Sex-style "I can't die, I'm the f*cking narrator!" moment. And then it rewinds midway through, but to little good end - it not only goes from being from one character's perspective to something more omniscient, and to make it feel even more like a cheat, it seems to insert a whole extra day into the proceedings. That's not a clever bit of misdirection; that's just scrambling your story and repeating things rather than just following a straight line in a way that builds tension.

Well, at least I didn't wind up reorganizing any schedules for it - I had initially considered seeing it rather than Mad Max 2 on Saturday night, and though I miscalculated times on Sunday, that worked out well for dinner. Granted, I'm not sure I would necessarily recommend walking practically from Fenway Park to Kendall Square for a movie on a regular basis (I did stop at Sweet Cheeks Q for dinner and post-Opening Day discussion with some friends), but it worked out well enough on Monday.

Anyway, it's not bad, just disappointing, and will still be around on demand after its last shows at the Kendall on Thursday.

Kill Me Three Times

* * ½ (out of four)
Seen 13 April 2015 in Landmark Kendall Square #4 (first-run, DCP)

True to its title, Kill Me Three Times makes multiple passes through the story - once with a flash-forward to the end, once in basic fashion, and once in more detail - but this jumping back and forth does very little to disguise how hollow it is. It's got style and is certainly never boring, but often seems so concerned with presenting its crime story in a clever way that the stuff that would make it actually interesting are left out.

After the flash-forward, it seems kind of interesting, with hitman Charlie Wolfe (Simon Pegg) finishing up one job and being sent on another, but when he follows Alice Taylor (Alice Braga) to an appointment with her dentist brother-in-law Nathan Webb (Sullivan Stapleton), he stumbles upon someone else's plan, as Nathan and his wife Lucy (Teresa Palmer) have a bit more than reconstructive dentistry planned for her. Also involved: Alice's bar-owner husband Jack (Callan Mulvey), local garage operator Dylan Smith (Luke Hemsworth), and corrupt cop Bruce Jones (Bryan Brown).

The plan hatched by Nathan and Lucy isn't necessarily the most clever to ever pop up in a crime story, but it's something that would certainly be fun as the solution to a mystery story told from the other side of the crime. The trouble is, writer James McFarland and director Kriv Stenders are so anxious to dive in just as the action starts that the characters are sketched out in just the vaguest sense - Nathan has a gambling problem and Lucy is (perhaps justifiably) bitchy. There's no time to build up the walls closing in or whether it's desperation that leads them to turn on Alice like this or whether Lucy feels in some twisted way like she's doing her brother a favor. They're all just parts in a Rube Goldberg machine where murder is a viable next step.

Full review on EFC.

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