Wednesday, August 29, 2012
The Killing (1956) review
Even for this film being one of Kubrick's early works, it still screams his essence in each scene, with a clever plot and iconic scenes together.
PLOT:Mastermind Johnny Clay (Sterling Hayden) has done some time in the past and is now home with his wife (Coleen Gray). However, he once again plans to commit a crime and knock off a horse track with the help of some fellow companions. The companions include the likes of the $5 bookie, George Peatty (Elisha Cook, Jr.), the track bartender, Mike O'Reilly (Joe Sawyer), gun salesman, Nikki Arane (Timothy Carey) and many others. It seems like the perfect crime, but George's wife, Sherry (Mary Windsor), and her lover (Vince Edwards) get involved and things get mixed up. It's a good plot idea executed brilliantly.
ACTING:The acting can get kind of basic in some parts, but overall it was pretty great. Sterling Hayden played a very sufficient lead as the mastermind; however, his part didn't get real good until the crime is committed. The other shiners would have to be Elisha Cook, Jr. as George Peatty, Timothy Carey as Nikki, Mary Windsor as Sherry, and Jay C. Flippen as Marvin Unger.
SCORE:The score was pretty basic as well, but it fit the mood very well and actually wasn't a generic burden as some other basic scores can be.
CAMERAWORK:Even though this is one of Kubrick's first films, his type of camerawork is present in here. He caught some very nice shots with a lot of his usual style present. For an early start, he did very well.
OTHER CONTENT:This is one of Kubrick's first films, but that doesn't mean it's one of his weaker films by far. The plot is very well thought-out, as every aspect of the crime is tied up cleverly. The script has some very nice dialogue in it, but it is Kubrick, so what can you expect? This film is also pretty iconic from the robbery scene, in which the lead puts on a clown mask to protect his identity, and from the finale in the airport with the suitcase. This is truly one of the best classic gangster films. However, it does have its faults. One thing I found kind of flawed with the film is the character development; there is little. What we find out is presented to us in a weak manner as we are just plunged into the whole robbery story. If there had been a bit more character development, the characters would have seemed more real to us. Also flawed with this film is that some of the way its filmed comes off as cheesy. It does include some typical gangster personalities and situations, including the narration, that cause it to come off as a bit cheesy: just a bit, not too much to be considered bad.
OVERALL,a great Kubrick film with a brilliantly-executed plot, basic and great acting, well-fitting score, Kubrick's usual camerawork, thought-out plot twists, a well-written script, and a few choice iconic scenes, but there is poor character development and a few cheesy aspects to the film.