The Killing - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Killing Reviews

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January 2, 2016
A brilliantly crafted and wonderfully entertaining film, The Killing stands amongst director Stanley Kubrick's best films. Though lacking the glitz and glamour of his later work, it shows his trademark ability to, well, make great films. A more down-to-earth film, it is brilliantly directed and written and also very well acted. The plan is lays out is very interesting to follow and watch take place and really wraps you up, especially when you see how it all turns out. Overall, The Killing is a fantastic time that may be 60 years old, but goes to show that great films never truly age.
½ December 18, 2015
A stylish early effort from Kubrick, it brings to mind those classic police/heist movies of early Hollywood like 'G Men' and you can see how it influenced modern day films like 'Reservoir Dogs'. It's a really interesting entry in his back catalogue and well worth a Sunday afternoon viewing.
November 18, 2015
Short and sweet, this film's final act has you nervously trembling at the edge of your chair.
September 6, 2015
A must watch for noir buffs.
Super Reviewer
September 2, 2015
A decent film noir and an interesting early work by Kubrick. One that is forgotten for good reason - it is passable but not terribly memorable. One can see Kubrick just pumping this out.
½ August 30, 2015
Once upon a time, before Stanley Kubrick entered the final stages of his career and subsequently emerged as a god and master of his medium, he made a name for himself riding the coattails of France's New Wave heist flicks and made The Killing. Lean, mean and economical to a fault, The Killing gets lost in the shuffle of Kubrick's career landmarks, but the man wielded impressive influence even for an overlooked 80-minute heist flick, with its non-linear narrative influencing the likes of Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs. Kubrick's work here is no-frills and elegantly straightforward: Sterling Hayden leads a group of high-profile criminals in the heist of a lifetime; an incredibly intricate robbery of a horse track with cash value of $2 million. No twists and turns, just good old-fashioned theft at the racetrack. The film revels in the gray morality of the characters' good intentions and the tension as the plan begins to unfold. Crime pays, at least until it doesn't.
August 26, 2015
Brilliant crime-noir, smooth as clockwork.
August 19, 2015
You have not yet learned that in this life you have to be like everyone else - the perfect mediocrity; no better, no worse. Individuality's a monster and it must be strangled in it's cradle to make our friends feel confident.
August 8, 2015
After two films that have been forgotten as the decades pass by, Stanley Kubrick meet producer James B Harris and the duo managed to create a film that would represent the beginning of a legend and one of the most influential films of all time: "The Killing".
Johnny Clay is a veteran criminal who plans to make one last heist before retiring and marrying, he plans to steal two million dollars from a horsetrack with the help of some minor criminals.
Most lovers of the seventh art consider "Paths of Glory" the beginning of the masterful Stanley Kubrick as we know, but I have to disagree with that statement. For me, that honor goes to this underrated heist film. "The Killing" counts with solid performances with the highlights being Sterling Hayden as a charismatic criminal, the camera movements are impeccable, the use of music is excellent, a solid screenplay, an innovating (for the time being) use of fracture storytelling, memorable characters (the ones we get two know), a suspenseful vibe, the built up is so masterfully done that you will be leaning to the screen as the film progresses, powerful and sometimes poetic dialog that provide an extra amount of power to certain scenes; the pacing is adequately fast, and an appropriate and extremely memorable ending. The big issue this film has is its narration. Sure, it helped the 50´s audience to understand the innovative time fracture storytelling but it s not a hard film to follow so it is pretty unnecessary and takes away any ambiguity.
"The Killing" is a film that despite the fact it is a product of the 1950´s, it has everything that's need to endure the test of time. It is undeniably the first masterpiece made by Stanley Kubrick and one of the best heist films ever put to film. It is astonishing how quickly Kubrick learned the art of filmmaking.
½ August 7, 2015
This movie is a proof that you don't need a hug budget, not a big production company to make a good movie. Stanley Kubrick has done an amazing job by creating this masterpiece with such a small amount of money.
The dialogues in this movie is such an amazing and so is the acting, which are the two main things you need to take care when creating a movie and both are really well done here. Plus the story line is authentic and well put together. This movie apparently surprised a lot of other movies of it's time.
August 6, 2015
Lá nos anos 50 Kubrick já inovava em modos de contar uma história - e aqui ele faz um dos primeiros exemplos de uma narrativa não-linear de forma brilhante e influenciando gerações de cineastas e roteiristas.
July 7, 2015
Great classic heist movie. Sterling is very good as the main protaganist and the movie is put together very well. Not like any classic Ive seen before. Some of the plot is a bit paper thing but overall its a good classic. Watch it.
July 1, 2015
Maravillosa joya cinematográfica.
½ July 1, 2015
It's definitely a masterpiece, but still too "logical" (not "emotional" enough) for me.
June 22, 2015
Great story, great directing, great ending. But, the acting was pretty poor. A lot of the dialogue was cheesy. But, the ending was very suspenseful and it provided great closure to a complex plot.
½ June 17, 2015
This crime drama, Kubrick's third feature, is far more even and polished than his previous two, it may feel less original and has much less of the director's personal style, but crucially that doesn't affect its effectiveness; it's a much better play on Hitchcockian themes than Killer's Kiss and the way the tense third act builds slowly to the titular 'perfect crime' is elegant and powerful.
½ May 27, 2015
The Killing is classic film noir which is not just Kubrick's first sign of greatness but among his very best. Well-paced with good character development and top-notch suspense throughout as well as subtle humor. The Killing delivers which is among the best film noir/thrillers of all time.
May 19, 2015
Stanley Kubrick had directed two films prior to this, but he considered this his first film and it's likely my all-time favorite heist film. With a script by cult crime author Jim Thompson (though only credited with "additional dialogue," most suspect he wrote a majority of the film) the film just crackles with terse dialogue and tight direction from Kubrick. The film centers around recently released ex-con Sterling Hayden putting together a plan to rob a race track. with the likes of Joe Sawyer, Elisha Cook Jr. and Timothy Carey. There's also Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards and Marie Windsor rounding out a solid cast of character and B-actors. Kubrick makes every frame interesting to look at and Hayden, as always, commands the screen. My only complaint is the unnecessary voiceover, which Kubrick was reportedly made to do by the studio and had little interest in making it work. However, besides that, the film is a flawless caper film and still deserves five stars for all it's positives.
May 8, 2015
Starring Sterling Hayden, Jay C. Flippen, Elisha Cook, Marie Windsor, Vince Edwards and Coleen Gray. Superior heist film stars Hayden as a down-on-his-luck ex-con who assembles a motley crew of men to rob a racetrack, each of which has his own motivation for needing the money. Marie Windsor stands out in a fine supporting cast as Cook's greedy wife. The film's ironic twist ending brings to mind "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre." Directed by Stanley Kubrick.
April 25, 2015
"$2,000,000 Pay-Off? Blood splattered apartment and four dead bodies greeted the police of the 47th Precinct last night. Mass murder took place at 21 Walker Drive and is believed to be tied in with "THE KILLING"!"

These 5 Men Had a $2,000,000 Secret Until One of them told this Woman!

"...In All Its Fury and Violence"

"...Like No Other Picture Since "Scarface" and "Little Caesar"!"

Excellent film from Kubrick starring Hayden, best known to most as Capt Mccluskey in The Godfather. Supposedly was huge influence on Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs.

Rodney Dangerfield reportedly appears as an extra in the racetrack fight scene.

Initial test screenings were poor, citing the non-linear structure as the main problem. Stanley Kubrick was forced to go back and edit the film in a linear fashion, actually making the film even more confusing. In the end, it was released in its original form, and is often cited as being a huge influence on other non-linear films like Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Pulp Fiction (1994).

Stanley Kubrick initially wrote a script outline. He then asked Jim Thompson (writer of The Getaway and The Grifters) to flesh it out with dialog.

Randy Kennan: You jerk, you clown!
[strikes George Peatty]
Randy Kennan: Come on, clown, sing us a chorus from "Pagliacci"!

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.

Johnny Clay: A friend of mine will be stopping by tomorrow to drop something off for me. He's a cop.
Joe: A cop? That's a funny kind of a friend.
Johnny Clay: Well, he's a funny kind of a cop.

Johnny Clay: You like money. You've got a great big dollar sign there where most women have a heart.

[last lines]
Fay: Johnny, you've got to run!
Johnny Clay: Eh, what's the difference?
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