Synopsis: Professional hit-man Charlie Wolfe finds himself in three tales of murder, blackmail and revenge after a botched contract assignment.
Release Date: April 10, 2015 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Action, Thriller
Simon Pegg is best known as one of the creative forces behind the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy consisting of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End. However, Pegg is also an accomplished actor in his own right, even sometimes appearing in movies that he didn’t write like the Star Trek or Mission Impossible movies. Kill Me Three Times is one of those movies.
Kill Me Three Times stars Pegg as a “problem solver” named Charlie Wolfe who finds himself at the center of a web of deception and intrigue involving a core group of miscreants. A dentist named Dr. Nathan Webb (Sullivan Stapleton from 300: Rise of an Empire) and his wife/assistant, Lucy (Theresa Palmer from Warm Bodies), plot to kill one of Nathan’s patients, Alice Taylor (Elysium‘s Alice Braga), and switch up the dental records to make it look like Lucy died in order to collect on a handsome insurance policy. Meanwhile, Lucy’s brother, Jack (Callan Mulvey from Captain America: The Winter Soldier), who is also Alice’s husband, hires Charlie to investigate Alice’s indiscretions with her boyfriend, a surfer dolt named Dylan (The Anomoly‘s Luke Hemsworth, better known as the older brother to the more popular Hemsworths). Finally, a corrupt cop named Bruce Jones (Cocktail‘s Bryan Brown) figures out Nathan and Lucy’s insurance fraud plan and blackmails them. Ever the opportunist, Charlie figures out a way to play all of the situations against each other so that he can profit handsomely.but things don’t quite go according to Charlie’s plan.
The screenplay for Kill Me Three Times was written by first-time screenwriter James McFarland and directed by Kriv Stenders (Red Dog, Boxing Day). It’s almost a too-typical crime movie, with just about every stereotype covered and recovered, but that seems to be the point; by tossing in every standard hit-man and jealous lover trope in cinematic history, Stenders and McFarland set the viewer up for the unexpected twists and turns that, by the third act, come at a fast and furious pace. It’s a darkly comedic film, but not as funny as some of Simon Pegg’s other work. He stills gets the chance to crack a few one-liners, but never enough to make a spoof out of the entire picture, just enough to give Charlie Wolfe a little bit of character.
Maybe it’s the constant double-crosses and red herrings, or maybe it’s the non-linear timeline, but it’s impossible for the work of Quentin Tarantino to not come to mind while watching Kill Me Three Times. The movie seems heavily inspired by Tarantino, but also seems like the type of movie that would inspire Tarantino, or maybe the type of movie that was inspired by the same movies that have also inspired Tarantino. The point is, Kill Me Three Times is not a Quentin Tarantino rip-off, but it easily seems like a movie that he could have made. And, in case it’s not clear, that’s a good thing.
Kill Me Three Times is a timeless movie with a retro vibe. It feels like an exploitation grindhouse movie, but it’s too clever and well-made to actually be one. And it’s fun. Right down to the last, keep-you-guessing frame of the damn movie. You may go into Kill Me Three Times for Simon Pegg, but what you’ll get out of it is a well-crafted knife-in-the-back thriller. And you’ll like it.
One of the key ingredients to any retro-cool crime thriller is a rocking soundtrack, and Kill Me Three Times has one, courtesy of composer Johnny Klimek (One Hour Photo, Cloud Atlas). The film’s score is full of guitar-oriented music that sounds like a mashup of twangy country western picking, old-school funk jams, and balls-out surf rock. The styles are all mixed together in one big reverb-drenched melting pot of classic rock tunage, but it doesn’t ever sound schizophrenic. It’s seamless, and purposefully so; the soundtrack is there to rock, and the movie had better keep up. Not to keep harping on the Tarantino thing, but the Ennio Morricone-meets-Dick Dale music is very reminiscent of something that would be heard in one of QT’s hipper flicks. Johnny Klimek’s rocking music is the cherry on top of Kill Me Three Times.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Kriv Stenders
- Producer(s): Tania ChambersLaurence MalkinShare Stallings
- Screenwriter(s): James McFarland
- Cast: Simon PeggTeresa PalmerAlice Braga Luke HemsworthSullivan StapletonCallan MulveyBryan Brown
- Editor(s): Jill Bilcock
- Cinematographer: Geoffrey Simpson
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer: Terri Lamera
- Casting Director(s): Christine King
- Music Score: Johnny Klimek
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA