Johnny Clay: You'd be killing a horse - that's not first degree murder, in fact it's not murder at all, in fact I don't know what it is.
"In All It's Fury and Violence"
Kubrick's third feature length film, The Killing, is really what jump started his career. Before it he had made Fear and Desire, which he hated, and another decent film called Killer's Kiss. The Killing was his first great movie, and showed the potential he had as a director. This short heist film lacks in nothing. The one thing that did irritate me about it was the horrible narration. It sounded so out of place. The only place narration like that would fit in is a terrible and cheap 50's science fiction film. Other than that, the rest is just about as perfect as it could be.
Johnny Clay is planning one last big score before settling into a quiet life. He enlists the help of some less than big time criminals. What he plans to do is take a horse track for all its got, which is roughly around $2,000,000. Everyone involved thinks they have the perfect plan and that nothing is going to go wrong, but it is a robbery, so you know that is never going to happen.
The film is really revolutionary in how it does the robbery. Kubrick manipulates time like no movie before it and really sets the stage for every movie that would use this technique in the future. He does the same scene, at different times, from different viewpoints. It's like how Tarantino does his crime scenes in movies like Reservoir Dogs and Jackie Brown. The Killing obviously had a huge influence on the crime and heist genres and an even bigger influence on how directors would look at time. You don't have to film everything in sequence, and that is exactly what Kubrick proved here.
The Killing is extremely intelligent and ahead of its time in just about every detail of the robbery. It isn't only about how Kubrick manipulated time, but how he built the film up to the disastrous ending. The dialogue is great, but where you really see the Kubrick touch is in the actual filming of the movie. This is the first film where we really see how Kubrick would approach the filming of his movies.
It isn't my favorite Kubrick film, nor would I classify it as his best. But there is something incredibly special about watching it. This is when Kubrick really started making films that were so much better than everyone else's. It was before Paths of Glory, before 2001. So looking at this movie decades later, after his great career in filmmaking is over; it is wonderful experience. There really is nothing else like watching a great Stanley Kubrick movie.
After this, Kubrick would make nothing but extraordinary movies. If you haven't seen any of his movies, this is where you should start, and then just follow his filmography by date. I bet Kubrick would even say, that he wished this was the first movie he had ever made.
Johnny Clay: You like money. You've got a great big dollar sign there where most women have a heart.