Now Cough

Sunday, August 19, 2007


You know, I have often thought that gangsters and artists are the same in the eyes of the masses.

The word 'heist' feels so 1950s. And it is. Stanley Kubrick's The Killing captures what it felt like to live in that decade: black and white, a bit raw and uncivilized, unpaved roads, unshaven men, a world on the brink of modern but not yet there.

And this movie depicts a certain kind of man's world: raw with ambition, greedy, violent, a land of double crosses, right crosses to the jaw, betrayal, dames and booze, robbery and the open-air desperation of horse races.

This is a dark, cynical and methodical film noir. Kubrick joined forces with the crime novelist Jim Thompson on the script (ever read him? He is absolutely chilling: "The typical Jim Thompson anti-hero is a troubled, perhaps even schizophrenic, misogynist who drinks a lot and kills people when he feels like it," Meredith Brody has written...). Kubrick made The Killing just before Paths of Glory, perhaps the best anti-war film ever made.

Grab a bottle of Scotch and fire up the tube and watch The Killing.


  • Match The Killing with Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train for a perfect misfit criminal, surrealist noir double feature.

    Where The Killing as you say lives on the raw edge of modernity, Robert Walker's deranged performance in Strangers on a Train frightens by threatening to unravel the carefully plotted lives of the upper class.

    By Blogger Kerry, at 1:19 AM  

  • Right on Kerry. In fact Kubrick and Hitchcock have a consistent way of showing how civilized behavior frays under the tests..of stress, kidnapping, war, betrayal. Society works on a very thin edge and these guys show how fragile everything is.

    By Blogger John Barth, at 8:58 PM  

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