Movie Review – The Killing

Posted: June 16, 2013 in Movie Reviews
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Kubrick’s earlier films have a sense of restlessness to it. Like a teenager trying to get out of the mould, like an adolescent trying to prick his pimples. Being a visionary he so badly wanted to break the shackles and set the film industry free of clichés. During those days, in trailers the film’s title used to be displayed in double quotes. That’s how literal the films were to the title. Even this film is. But as a mockery.


Sarcasm is Kubrick’s forte, be it a subtle satire or a cinematic spoof he ruled the roost. That was when got enough confidence of films. Films like The Killing, Paths of glory were considered to be pretty straightforward when comparing to 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange. Without taking any credits off him the latter films of Kubrick’s is what excited me. I don’t know whether I can go so far and call that I’m a fan of his work but he surely makes me think. He draws me into his films.

Because I had watched his best films first and lots of films in the genre of The Killing this film looks less impressive. But considering it at the time of release this film with the chaos, narrative style, villainy would surely have been forefather of all those crime films made now by Hollywood directors like Guy Ritchie and Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino cited this film as an inspiration for Reservoir dogs but I felt this film to be similar to his lesser known film Jackie Brown which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The killing marked the beginning of a new narrative style which is to become famous in coming years. Like any other Kubrick movie this film due didn’t rake enough moolah when it got released but later got the mandatory cult status which every Kubrick movie has. It took some time to even get to see this type of movies in Hollywood. Now that we’d have watched movies like this abundance the significance might not be defining.

There are totally five main characters in all. Johnny Clay, a veteran criminal who plans “a robbery which wouldn’t go wrong” and assembles his team consisting of a corrupt cop, a betting window teller, a sharpshooter, a wrestler and a bartender. Each have their tasks cut out. But George Peatty, the betting window teller blurters out about the robbery to his money hungry wife Sherry. No marks for guesses, she has a lover in the form of handsome Vince Edwards who plays Val Cannon. They two together plan to take on the gang of robbers and rob them in turn. How the heist goes wrong is all the story about.

We might miss the thrill part which we associate with movies of this genre. Thanks to the likes of Guy Ritchie and Quentin Tarantino for glorfying it but in those days The Killing was considered to be a taut thriller with no loose ends. Kubrick has certainly taken film noir to the next level. People those days would have never known that a crime saga like this movie would become a craze in future. It takes at least 10 years for people to figure out Kubrics vision.  Who knows, Eyes wide Shut, which has mixed reviews may gain the cult status in coming years.

One particular shot which is very famous now is the killing of all the people in room by accidental shooting. We see these type of scenes regularly nowadays. Those scenes are shot quite exhaustively in crime sagas nowadays. “The Killing” is one apt title for this movie especially for this scene. The movie again ends in a way which is now worshipped for is anxiety.


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