I might be giving my new boyfriend a cinematic education of sorts (you’ll hear about his test results soon), but I’m far from a professor. A T.A., at most, I would say. I’m a cinephile, and I know more about movies that probably about 95% of the population, but compared to most cinema lovers, my filmic resume is rather meagre. My own cinematic education is far from complete, and working on that is one of the goals for these few months “in-between” I’m in now. I don’t know how much I’ll actually get done (both of my employers have realized I’m available, and I seem to have less free time than before), but I thought Stanley Kubrick’s debut film wouldn’t be a bad place to start.
The Killing is a heist movie. That I knew. I didn’t expect, however (due to previous experience with Kubrick’s work) that it would be so briskly paced and – dare I say it – almost playful. Ok, so maybe most people wouldn’t consider the rigidly narrated overview of the events playful, but to me the jumping back and forth in time, illuminating all events from multiple angles, showed an almost playfyl fascination with the inner workings of a crime.
My one beef? It’s all too obvious from the beginning who the weak link is, and where the plan will fall apart. Worse: it should have been obvious to the participants as well. I guess the lure of money (a lot of money) can make people do unreasonable, risky things, but come on! Of course, though, there had to be a weak element, a hitch, not just because of the production code (which was weakening already around then), but because a perfectly planned heist going perfectly is, well, boring.
Still, I loved how the plan was unveiled bit by bit, without a grand, lengthy expository scene, but also without leaving us totally in the dark, giving us exactly the clues we need to figure out what’s what. I also loved the scene with the boxer I quoted from in my preview post. And the robber with the clown mask is such an iconic mask, it elicited a feeling of recognition, even if I’d never seen this movie before.
Incidentally, for a more elaborate discussion, see episode #217 of filmspotting: they discussed The Killing as part of their heist movie marathon (from the 40:55 mark), of which I hope to sample more movies soon (their discussions of Rififi and especially Le Cercle Rouge left me very curious.
Also, props to Kaj from guessing the film from the quote, and manifesting this by replying with another appropriate one.