The Killing - Movie Review

By Monica Sullivan

After 1955's “Killer's Kiss”, Stanley Kubrick received $200,000 to make “The Killing” for United Artists. There were only two strings attached: He had to cast a star as Johnny Clay and U.A. had to like his script. Sterling Hayden turned out to be perfect as a grizzled small-time convict in hot pursuit of the big time & who WOULDN'T like the masterful screenplay by Kubrick and Jim Thompson?

“The Killing” examines crime and sexuality with a laser-like beam that looked and sounded like nothing else in the Fidgety Fifties. Listen to the dialogue between Elisha Cook and Marie Windsor as George and Sherry Peatty. Was any guy ever whipped as graphically as George was by Sherry? Watch the classic racetrack sequence with Timothy Carey as vicious hood Nikki & James Edwards as the parking attendant. Ever see racism delivered with such a startling flick of rattlesnake venom? The presence of fresh-faced Coleen Gray & the voice-of-God narration are reassuring throwbacks to film noir of the forties, and then the evil implodes, in bright sunshine as well as in dark shadows, in a way that is raw, real, ugly and cruel. All the hoods are human & stupid: their doomed schemes may be intricately planned, but their intrinsic flaws are blurred by the sheer speed of the narrative drive.

Stanley Kubrick blasted his way into the movies with an unsparing frankness about the undercurrents of reality no one else was willing to acknowledge and an originality that audiences continue to experience with all five senses.

© 201 0 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 04/21/10
Movie Magazine International