Sunday 1 March 2009

The Killers [1946]

The Killers starts off with a now legendary opening shot which lets us know instantly that we are in a dark world from which there’s no escape, and forms a terrific preamble to this definitive film noir. Adapted from an Ernest Hemingway short story, the movie follows a zealous insurance agent uncovering the mysterious bumping off of an ex-pugilist. Making amazing use of a series of temporally disjointed flashbacks he uncovers a murky tale of robbery, false love, cold blooded betrayals, double crosses, and murder. Burt Lancaster is astounding as a doomed man – the classic noir anti-hero – walking the path to destruction. Ava Gardner is absolutely sizzling as a sultry, duplicitous, drop dead gorgeous vixen – one of the most unforgettable femme fatales every seen on screen; boy, with those magnetic looks she sure could to lead any man to his grave without so much as battling an eyelid. The Byzantine plot has been given a life of its own courtesy assured direction and sublime screenplay. And as for the visually arresting cinematography – with those smoky vignettes, dimly lit rooms, brilliant use of shadows, oblique camera angles, iconic silhouettes, moody high contrast shots, and a mesmerizing mixture of screeching long takes and paranoid close-ups – it raises the viewing experience to dizzying levels. If this stupendous noir masterpiece doesn’t grab you by the collars, nothing really will.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Genre: Film Noir/Crime Drama/Mystery
Language: English
Country: US


Unknown said...

After reading your review, i got interested in watching this film..but the only problem is i am having a hard time finding the movie! Also after reading your review on "away with words" my interest to watch that film decreased, although i am a huge fan of Christopher Doyle. Thanks and keep up the good work.

Shubhajit said...

Thanks a lot. Yeah, this is one hell of a movie. And as for Doyle, i too am a big fan of his cinematography - but his directorial debut was, to put it bluntly, bad. Keep visiting.

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