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Saturday, April 23, 2011
The Killing - 1956
Over the years Stanley Kubrick has brought to our world many great movies, with a consistency that almost no director has ever achieved in his lifetime. But see, the thing is that Kubrick is obviously most known for his works Like Dr. Strangelove and 2001: A Space Odyssey. So I think that many of us film lovers often overlook some of his earlier films, such as this one, The Killing. This is a film with a story that I think has a bit of an Alfred Hitchcock feel to it, maybe similar to Dial "M" for Murder than any of his others. And unlike almost all of Kubrick's films, The Killing is in black and white, making it all the more interesting for me. The story is really quite interesting, and one that has been used quite a few times since the film. It is one of those "one last job" film, where our hero, well not really, goes in to complete a final job before he moves on to another life. In fact, Ben Affleck used a very similar story in his most recent film "The Town". And it just so happens that I particularly love that type of story, and to me personally it never gets old. Kubrick crafted a wonderfully creative film here, that is honestly a classic worth multiple viewings. His direction is absolutely spotless. In fact, I do not believe that direction gets much better than this, ever. It is hard to take a story that is actually very boring, and make every scene interesting and needed, along with an excellent ending that brings the entire film together, but that is exactly what Kubrick has done. Probably not his greatest job, but Kubrick is an unbelievably talented director that will always be a favorite of mine.
The cast did a fantastic job, boosted by a strong script. Sterling Hayden gives a strong performance in the lead, and actually reminded me a lot of Gary Cooper in this film, meant as a compliment. I loved Elisha Cook Jr.'s performance, his innocence that perfectly transforms by the end. And this is a comparison that surely I am not the only one that noticed it, but he really reminded me of John Fielder. Hey, I always loved Piglet. There is not really any more performances worth mentioning, but Marie Windsor was good, along with the entire cast. If you are a Hayden fan, you will probably enjoy The Killing.
Overall, The Killing is another brilliant film coming from the mind of Stanley Kubrick. Unfortunately, the film could have been a bit longer, which I did not like. But other than that this film is as close to perfection as they come. Strong performances, a fantastic screenplay, and incredible direction make up to a film for any movie lover.