{Of all lies, art is the least untrue - Flaubert}

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Killing

The Killing, Stanley Kubrick's film noir is about making, execution and failure of a heist plan. No doubt, it is perfectly planned and executed by Kubrick and the also by the bunch of tough guys on screen. But unlike the plan of tough guys, Kubrick succeeds brilliantly in his. It might well be the best of Kubrick's film I have seen (I might be saying this because I have seen it just half an hour ago and still title menu sounds are playing about the seventh race, and also because I found it a small tight film, not like the later opulent ones). What's most interesting thing about the film is its use of precise timing as a very intelligent way that seems to say in way that we are exactly following the film script, like the characters of the film have the tight grip of the plan, so as the director of the movie. At one point it says the we are running 15 minutes late, it generates so much tension as if the worst has come, because somehow we all know that its all going to fall apart, and just waiting for it, holding our breath. Director has taken a close control on character's doomed destinies, but we feel partly fate and partly fiendish femme fatale are responsible for the failure of this precise plan. The outcome of the film is like the line said by a character early in the film, 'This unique system of betting will more than likely result in a loss'.

In the classic case dim husband and prim beauty, George Peatty (Elisha Cook Jr.) tells the secret plan to to his wife, Sherry Peatty (Marie Windsor), who in turn involves her love interest to back stab her husband. The end of the couple is pretty sad in the film and as Sherry remarks, "This is a bad joke without a punch line". But this episode adds the flair of doom in the film, we now know that all can not be happy and we also know that plan can not work out, so we know the inevitability of a lose-lose situation. It, along with other sneaky brief touches of characterization, also points out that the robbery didn't fail because of the flaw in plan, but because human beings were involved in it, so were their desires, dreams and intentions, which both drove and doomed it.

The ending of The Killing is just great. It is not great the way dollars fly in air but how a little doggy runs for them. The last scene is a perfect killing, where no blood flows, its a killing of fiscal dreams. It is brilliant how enervated Johnny Clay (Sterling Hayden, the eccentric Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper of Dr. Strangelove) surrenders, saying " Nah, what's the difference". Its the moment he stops dreaming, a moment of no hope.

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