Kill Me Three Times (2014)

Rating: C-

Dir: Kriv Stenders
Star: Sullivan Stapleton, Teresa Palmer, Alice Braga, Simon Pegg

I suppose it’s marginally better for a film to be guilty of trying too hard, than not trying hard enough. But you won’t get much credit from me, when the effort here is expended mostly on constructing a warmed-up omelette of elements from the likes of Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Brothers. Bar-owner Jack believes his wife, Alice (Braga), is cheating on him, so sends hit-man Charlie Wolfe (Pegg) to take her out. What neither of them know is that Alice is the target of a scheme by local dentist Nathan (Stapleton) and his wife, Lucy (Palmer), who intend to fake Lucy’s death using Alice’s corpse, in order to pull off a life-insurance scam and clear up a massive gambling debt accrued by Nathan.

Complicating matters further, Alice swiped the money Jack was going to use to pay Charlie, and Charlie himself has a side-scheme going, blackmailing Nathan by threatening to turn him in if not provided with a share of the proceeds. Sure, there’s no shortage of things going on here. The problem is much more the lack of damn-giving any of them create. It’s not helped by a fractured timeline, which throws us into the middle of things, before rewinding to show us what led up to that point. In effect, the first third of the film has gone by the time you have any real clue of who is doing what to who, and why.

As for reasons to care, I’m still waiting for any of them to show up, since the characters here comes across as a collection of repellent sociopaths, lacking the redeeming features which are needed to create any kind of connection with the an audience. These are even interestingly repellent, being little more than stock characters e.g. the suspicious husband, the shrewish wife, though Pegg’s mustache delivers a riveting performance, relatively speaking, from his top lip. Things happen, crosses are doubled and the credits roll, without me losing consciousness, yet without engaging me in the slightest either.