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Kiss or Kill
Directed by: Bill Bennett
Starring: Frances O'Connor, Matt Day
Look for it at the video store under: foreign [Australian],
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something:
Nikki and Al are two young lovers with a nice little scam going: these
small-time thieves target out-of-town businessmen, sending Nikki in to
seduce and drug the victims. Once the poor sucker has passed out, Al
helps Nikki clean out the loot – when the guy wakes up the next
morning, he’s usually so fearful that his family might learn of his
indiscretion that he never bothers to report the crime to the police.
But when one of their cons goes terribly wrong, and the two find
themselves stuck with a dead body and a rather incriminating videotape
involving a local football hero, Zipper Doyle,
with a pre-pubescent boy, they know they’ve got to clear out of town,
and fast. But as they make their way cross-country, more people start
turning up dead – leaving Nikki (who, thanks to a very disturbed
childhood, is pretty distrustful of men to begin with) and Al (who can’t
help but notice that Nikki’s acting a bit strangely) with no
choice but to suspect the other is a murderer.
Review Kiss or Kill
is part thriller, part road trip adventure, part mystery,
part romance -- with a fair amount of comedy thrown in for good measure,
plus trendy (albeit in this instance completely appropriate) jump cuts
galore. All of which makes it sound like every supposedly edgy film that
came out in the post-Tarantino era of the mid-late 90s … but this is
one romance/crime/road movie that’s got a distinct personality all its
own. To begin with, it’s a low-budget flick that nevertheless actually
looks good – the strange landscape of the Australian desert looks
creepily, barrenly beautiful. The film also features the talents of
Frances O’Connor, who, as the nervous and slightly un-hinged Nikki,
simply shines. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is about her that
gives her so much presence on-screen (she’s pretty, though not
unusually so), but whatever it is, you can’t take your eyes off of
her. Best of all, though, are the host of quirky characters that the
lovers on the run encounter during the course of their cross-country
escape – from an eccentric motel owner, to a couple who’ve set up
house on an abandoned nuclear testing site, to the two hilariously
dry-humored cops who are trailing after Nikki and Al. Throw in a
surprising twist ending, and you’ve got yourself one very stylish,
utterly unpredictable ride of a road movie.
lounge . nourish
. host .
. home .