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KISS OR KILL

Australia, 1997 (MIFF 1997, Australian)

Director: Bill Bennett

Kiss or Kill breathes fresh life into the young-couple-on-the-run genre. Nikki has more reason to hate men than most; as a little girl, she is forced to watch as her mother is set alight and burned to death by an intruder. In partnership with boyfriend Al, she picks up lonely men in bars, slips a sedative into their drinks and robs them while they're asleep.

Events turn nasty when one of Nikki's victims expires; worse still, he is carrying an incriminat­ing video of a football star engaging in pae­dophilia. Nikki and Al leave town in a hurry, the homicide squad and the footballer in hot pur­suit. Wherever they stop, grisly murders take place and the pair begin to suspect one another. Whodunnit - one or both of the fugitives, or are they now victims of an elaborate frameup? We're kept guessing right up until the denoue­ment. Director Bill Bennett sets a cracking pace in Kiss or Kill but downplays sex and violence in favour of well-delineated characterisation and nifty plotting that keeps the viewer guessing until the final frames.

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