Sunday, 1 March 2009
The Killers 
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