Thursday, May 22, 2008

Robert Siodmak's "The Killers" (1946)

Robert Siodmak's screen adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's short story is one for the ages. The film opens with a mysterious bang as two men are in search for the man they are hired to murder. When the man is alarmed of the killers, he does nothing but accept his peril. He simply says he once did something bad. If there's a better set up for a series of present day story with flash back scenes cut in to tell a tale of murder, heist, and backstabbing, you let me know. This film is sublimely edited which gives the viewer a never ending want to find out why exactly this man was killed and what it was that he did wrong. Sometimes a noir can get too confusing when it uses a technique such as this or involves too many characters, among other things. Luckily for The Killers, this isn't a problem. The story is easily comprehensible and while the ending won't blow anyone's mind, especially by today's standards, the character's motives may catch you off guard.

The acting in this film noir is also incredible. Although Ava Gardner and Burt Lancaster are the poster couple for this film, Edmond O'Brien's detective skills hold the weight of the on screen time.

All in all, this film has a rip roaring story and is beautifully directed by Siodmak. He knew exactly what he was doing and the end results prove it. If you've never seen a film noir before, this would be a fine place to begin.


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