Directed by John Dahl, a Billings, Montana, native and a U of M alumni of mine. Kill Me Again was the first of a trio of Neo Noirs (Red Rock West (1993), The Last Seduction (1994)), that cemented Dahl at the get go as one of those few directors that truly understands the visual style of what basically makes a noir a noir combined with a simple story about down and outers that isn't typical Hollywood i.e, using "A" actors, car chases, product placement, explosions, etc., etc. The story was written by Dahl and David W. Warfield. The excellent cinematography was by Jacques Steyn and music by William Olvis.
The film stars Val Kilmer (True Romance (1993), The Salton Sea (2002)), Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs (1992), Mulholland Falls (1996), Sin City (2005)), Joanne Whalley, Jon Gries, Michael Greene (To Live And Die In L.A. (1985), and Bibi Besch.
Film Soleil, the yang of Film Noir 's yin. Credits roll. Desert. Distilled anti-city. Bright. Sun baked. Torrid. Wasteland 360 to the horizon.
Shithole. Winnemucca. Nevada. A daylight heist. '76 Monte Carlo. Vince (Madsen) leather clad Elvis. Eye shades. Fay (Whalley), casino trash bimbette. She's the bait. Vince is the switch. Mob skim. Briefcase stash. Two couriers. One gets stupid. One gets cute. Vince drills him. He bites the Dust. Vince grabs the loot. Fay lays Chevy rubber. Desert desperados. They vamoose. Gone.
Two lane getaway. Briefcase opened. Whoa! WTF? Fay's ecstatic. $$ sign eyes. Money junkie. Gambling addict. Vince pissed. Too much. Thirty times too much. Mob money. Deep doo-doo. Gotta leave state. Gotta scram. Gotta get the fuck outta Dodge. Gotta Idaho. Hicksville. The boonies. Lay low.
|Two lane getaway|
|The loot ... Fay want's to go to Vegas|
|don't fuck with me|
|hitting the hooks|
Pit stop. Rest Area. Vince gotta whiz. Doesn't trust Fay. Takes her and briefcase into shitter. Vince starts watering the horse. Fay eyeballs rock door stop. Sees way out. Sees $$$. She grabs rock. Kisses Vince on the melon. He's still draining the main vein. Golden shower. Lights out. Fay grabs money. Fay grabs Chevy. $$ sign eyes. Looking for bright lights. Wants to hear that ding, ding, ding. Heads to Reno.
|Reno bound Fay|
|Jack Andrews P.I. (Kilmer)|
|Fay cleaned up|
|Pure as driven slush|
Jack is jacked. Jack is inventive. The man with a plan.
Step one: Get Fay a fake ID. Get buddy Alan to scrounge a pint of Fay's blood type. A hospital connection.
|Jack and Alan (Jon Gries)|
Step three: Fay plays craps. She jiggles when she wins. Low cut dress. Deep cleavage. Bouncing boobies. Everybody drools.
|shot out of the saddle|
Step six: Check her into another Motel. Drive her car with the bloody clothes out into the desert and dump it. Looks like another hooker murder. Another runaway who trusted the wrong guy. Body missing. Sandy grave.
Step seven: Prearranged. Alan picks him up. Alan get his cut. Jack is back. Rendezvous in Reno. Rendezvous with Fay.
But Fay has SPLIT! She checked out. VAMOOSED! Leaves Jack jack. Headed for Vegas. In her purse was a matchbook with Jack's number. Guess who gets pinched? Jack. And guess who comes knocking at Jack's door next. VINCE!
Our femme fatale Joanne Whalley-Kilmer has this quality of being able to look both extremely sexy and weasily simultaneously. At times she's a bit swarthy, disheveled, and K-Y Jelly greasy. But she cleans up nicely in a low rent, low life sort of way. She can play sweet and demure when she's registering at a motel and wants the clerk to remember her. Other times she affects the look of a rat nibbling on a wedge of cheese. Her eyes slightly bulging at the moment you flip the lights on in the kitchen. She has an aura of rodent, I guess we can call it a rat girl vibe. She's jail tail.
Michael Madsen is always convincing as a homicidal psychopath. He was born to play these characters. In classic noir he would have been reverently type cast, on par with Peter Lorre, Elisha Cook Jr., Dan Duryea, and Raymond Burr. His dead eyes negate any facial expressions he may generate. You are looking into the abyss of mayhem and madness. You know he's crazier than a shithouse rat.
Val Kilmer as PI Jack Andrews has an Eagle Scout vibe. He comes off as competent P.I., who has had a string of bad luck. Swerving to miss a deer he loses control of his car and goes through a guardrail. He and his wife are plunged into a lake. He tries to save her. Only Jack survives and he's haunted by the tragedy. He is down but not out.
The finale sets up like this. Jack is after Fay. Vince and the police are after Jack. The mob is after Vince and Fay. It's quite entertaining, looks great, and it manages to homage a few Classic Noir's in the process. John Dahl really has a handle on Film Noir/Film Soleil. Music was by William Olvis. For his first effort Dahl earns a 7-8/10.
|1964 Cadillac Coupe DeVille|
A Neo-Noir visual treat, the screencaps are from MGM DVD.