Kiss or Kill

A couple of crazy outlaw kids, used to scamming traveling businessmen in hotel rooms (she seduces and drugs, he ransacks and robs), get into a big-time jam when a victim dies of an overdose and leaves behind a videotape of a famous athlete’s pedophilic activities. Now both the cops and the jock are on the grifters’ tail, and they’ve got to scram. But once on the road (in the spooky, lunar landscape of big-sky Australia), other weird stuff happens. And trust in one another is the first thing to tumble. Working with Frances O’Connor and Matt Day (attractive costars in last year’s Love and Other Catastrophes), Australian writer-director Bill Bennett makes lively, light work of film noir conventions; there’s evil and amorality here, yeah, but it’s evil with a fashion-conscious, TV-aware, Twin Peaksy arthouse look. The determinedly colorful minor characters and casual ancillary deaths are diverting, but Bennett’s favorite visual device — a jumpy ”pleating” of scene edits that suggests the rhythm of Homicide — exhausts its welcome. Kiss or Kill is noir with a nervous tic. B-

Kiss or Kill
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