Kill Me Three Times (2014) – reviewed by George

This is a really good movie, with some clever ideas of story telling. The movie actually starts three times (hence the title) and tells the same basic story in different ways, such that you get more information with each telling.
First I should say that a scene near the beginning is repeated near the end, and puts a different spin on the outcome for one character. The beginning of the first version has Charlie Wolfe (Simon Pegg), a jack-of-all-criminal-trades if you can afford him (he’s so good that he can set a high price and get it), fulfilling a contract on a hapless dude named Sam (Steve Le Marquand). His cell rings and he answers it, then spies Sam crawling away. He excuses himself, kills Sam, and goes back to the phone. Taking the new job, he utters his catchphrase, “I’ll be there in an hour.”
Poor Alice Taylor (Alice Braga) is the intended victim and it is her husband Jack (Callan Mulvey) who has called Charlie, since she is cheating on him with Dylan Smith (Luke Hemsworth). Unbeknownst to Jack or Charlie, Alice’s dentist Nathan Webb (Sullivan Stapleton) and his receptionist/wife Lucy (Teresa Palmer) also want to kill Alice because she is about the same size as Lucy, and Nathan has both their dental charts. He can switch charts in his records, kill Alice, and claim it is Lucy for the insurance, in order to pay off gambling debts. Some people are just unlucky and should never, ever gamble. Every bet they make, even (especially) if it is a sure thing will turn to manure in some way. So when Nathan finds out his sure-thing bet on a horse lost while he is driving, you don’t feel for him, you just laugh at him.
Jack wants Charlie, in his role as fixer, first to follow Alice and confirm his suspicions. If Jack is right he wants her dead. No word on an additional contract on Dylan – hardly seems fair, does it?
Also in the first version Alice calls the dental office and makes an appointment for that afternoon. She says she has a chipped tooth. How it got chipped is in the second version. Charlie is following her, so from his vantage point in the plantings around the dentist’s office he sees Nathan carry Alice out unconscious and put her in the trunk of his car. Nathan and Lucy stage a kind of brilliant car wreck in which Alice is burned and exploded to death. Hope her teeth are still in her jawbone!
The film is a lot of fun, partly because you have to pay such close attention. I found it to be just confusing enough that I wanted to see it again, right away. Actually, so far I’ve seen it 4 times. Twice to get the story straight and 2 more times trying to figure out who “Sam” is. He’s listed second in the credits at the end of the picture (under Simon) and on in the same position. Once I finally noticed “In order of appearance” at the top of the film credits, I realized I didn’t have to rescan the whole picture, just the first few moments, and the only person between Charlie and Alice was the murderee whose only line was “Arggh!” BUT I did get his name in the review.
And maybe Lucy has an additional reason for choosing Alice, other than her size. Lucy is Jack’s sister. Bryan Brown is also aboard as a crooked lawman, and yes, all the acting is excellent and the Australian locations are gorgeous. Written by James McFarland and directed by Kriv Stenders.

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