THE KILLING (1956)
Classic noir. Femme fatale. Dark lighting. Deception and backstabbing. Salty dialogue. A narrator. And a criminal that’s foiled by a cruel twist of fate.
THE KILLING was recommended to me and after looking it up I was surprised to see it was written and directed by Kubrick. It stayed well within the constraints of noir and other films of the period (as far as I can tell) so you don’t really see him flex his stylistic muscles.
It’s a fun watch where the dialogue and banter often takes center stage, and the plot often comes off as superfluously complex. It takes robbing a racetrack and seems to make it seem bigger than it is. We get a lot of backstory to the crooks and a lot of their underlying motivations (to screw each other out of the money, occasionally) but I think a more linear plot could have served the movie better.
The heist itself is satisfying, with a few members of the group failing at their roles, leading to a good amount of suspense and tension.
My favorite moment of the film is when the lead robber is forced to check his bag onto the airplane. We see it loaded onto a luggage cart, which is soon toppled by a loose dog on the runway. The briefcase topples, opens, and all $2 million flutters into the wind. The crook has no choice but to make a hasty exit and is caught by police on the way out.
Cruel twist of fate and emphasizing the message that crime never pays.
Even though it felt like they had tried to cram too much complexity into a relatively simple story, it was still a fun watch with some great moments.