Monday, March 13, 2006

Stanley Kubrick's The Killing

Saw this classic film noir by Stanley Kubrick last night, on big screen. The character types, plot and narrative tropes are from standard film noir and heist movies. What is extra, though, is the brilliant use of flashbacks to show parallel action in the great heist sequence. It makes you really think about the use of 'time' in how shots are sequenced. Films like Pulp Fiction will look less innovative after you have seen this film.

It also has some really brilliant dialogues. Here is the archetypical tough-guy-with-tougher-luck hero admonishing the femme fatale:

Johnny Clay: Alright sister, that's a mighty pretty head you got on your shoulders. You want to keep it there or start carrying it around in your hands?
Sherry Peatty: Maybe we could compromise and put it on your shoulder. I think that'd be nice, don't you?

You might have to see the film at least twice to really appreciate the wizardry of the writer and the filmmaker and be prepared for a truly anti-climactic and utterly heartbreaking climax at the end.


km said...

Yowza! The Killing is in my DVD queue! Must be really cool to see it on the big screen. (Though the Kubrick film I most want to see on the big screen is "Barry Lyndon".)

ventilatorblues said...

The Killing is one of my favorites. If you see "Stanley Kubrick : A Life In Pictures" you will get some interesting background into the making of this film (in particular, how Kubrick battled with his cinematographer to get his own vision on film - an incident that throws some light on why Kubrick demanded more and more control over his projects as the years went by). To KM's comment about Barry Lyndon, right on! Barry Lyndon is probably my favorite period film period. :) The aforementioned documentary also describes the special artistry it took to film those candlelit scenes in the movie.

Alok said...

Big screen of course has its charms but there are advantages with the dvd medium. specially with films like these when you need to rewind or go back to previous scenes which you missed or didn't pay attention to. otherwise you will keep scratching your head.

but I did manage to see two back to back screenings, on the price of one ticket of course. these people are very generous :-)

v, haven't seen the Kubrick documentary you mentioned. Will see if I can get it on dvd. It is interesting that you mention cinematography because I was thinking that the film was more of a showcase of Kubrick's handling and the control of the narrative rather than pure visuals, unlike his other later films which were pure visual works of art and in which narrative was relegated to the secondary level.