Below-the-line talent rarely seems like the lynchpin holding a whole film together, but if anyone should be getting praise for Kill Me Three Times, it’s casting director Christine King. Without her presence, the film would have been a dull Aussie crime caper that you’ll probably forget about by the time you reach the parking lot. But thanks to King, Kill Me Three Times is a dull Aussie crime caper that’ll make you think it was neat seeing so many actors play against type, before then forgetting everything else about it.
Not content to let brother Liam be the only Hemsworth with a derivative, Teresa Palmer-co-starring knockoff premiering at TIFF, Luke Hemsworth is the only player in Kill Me Three Times that’s squarely in their comfort zone (his: bland and hunky). The rest are diverting in spots simply for trying something a little different, whether it’s Simon Pegg as a mustachioed hitman, Sullivan Stapleton as a meek dentist, or the aforementioned Palmer as the dentist’s scheming wife.
The fleeting fun of Pegg playing a baddie, or seeing Stapleton set to maximum bumble is all Kill Me Three Times has to offer, as it assembles a cast of characters not half so colorful as the stylized opening credits introducing them. All the dialogue from first-time screenwriter James McFarland is purely functional, and serves a story of insurance fraud and murder-for-hire that’s desperately lacking for inspiration or excitement.
McFarland throws in a circuitous framing device to try and keep you on your toes, but often you’re just left confused as to the motivations of the characters, and why it is we should care about them once the first question is answered. West coast Australia, where the film was shot, certainly looks pretty, and there are a couple of nice explosions, but that’s about it. Maybe if McFarland, or director Kriv Stenders had tried to make Kill Me Three Times half as interesting as King cast it, you wouldn’t watch it feeling bored, bored, bored the whole time.