"You got a great big dollar sign there, where most women have a heart."
- Johnny Clay (Sterling Hayden) to Sherry Peatty (Marie Windsor)
USA Today - 12/21/1989
"...Sterling Hayden and a great second-rung cast -- Vince Edwards, Elisha Cook Jr., Marie Windsor, Timothy Carey and more -- are sizzling as a litany of losers..."
Sight and Sound - 10/01/2002
"...This is bravura filmmaking. It's not just the formal brilliance that makes the film so distinctive, but the affection and wry humor with which Kubrick portrays his low-life protagonists..."
A.V. Club - 08/24/2011
"[T]he young Kubrick had an eye for great character actors, which in THE KILLING includes Jay C. Flippen, Elisha Cook Jr., and Timothy Carey..."
Sight and Sound - 10/01/2011
"With its sliding-through-walls Ophuls-like shots passing along railroad flats, it was Kubrick's most polished to date, the calling card that led to PATHS OF GLORY, and further glories."
Film Comment - 09/01/2011
"THE KILLING is able to breathe through Kubrick's direction, with remarkable camerawork that circumnavigates the sets and elicits definitive expression from his actor's faces."
Sterling Hayden stars in Stanley Kubrick's crime noir classic, THE KILLING, based on crime Lionel White's novel CLEAN BREAK. Hayden plays Johnny Clay, an ex-con with a plan to steal $2 million from a San Francisco racetrack. He assembles an odd collection of tough guys and moles to participate in the heist. But just as there is no such thing as the perfect murder, there is no such thing as the perfect crime...
The film features terrific performances from Hayden, Elisha Cook, Marie Windsor, and the rest of the talented cast. Kubrick, who brought in pulp writer Jim Thompson to create the perfect dialogue, tells the story with a nonlinear, fractured-time narrative, following each of the main characters separately as they prepare for the big day. Featuring Kubrick's flawless direction and wonderfully atmospheric photography, anchored by a jazz-tinged score by Gerald Fried, THE KILLING is one of the most intense noir heist films ever made.
THE KILLING made director Stanley Kubrick famous, influencing many future features, including Quentin Tarantino's RESERVOIR DOGS. The tense, tight story flashes back to examine with clinical precision the events that lead up to a racetrack robbery..