The Killing

Institute History

  • 1992 Sundance Film Festival


One of director Stanley Kubrick’s finest early films, The Killing is a suspenseful documentarylike crime thriller about a group of down-and-out small-town crooks who plot a large-scale robbery. The Killing stars Sterling Hayden as Johnny Clay, the deadly, cool mastermind behind the ultimate racetrack heist. An ensemble cast delivers electrifying performances as Clay’s pawns in a precisely planned game of organized crime. Kubrick’s use of narration guides the filmgoer along a complex, finely detailed path leading toward fulfillment of the ultimate and always elusive get-rich-quick scheme. Flashbacks and overlapping action throughout the day of the caper reveal the way all of the elements in the robbery plan finally come together and propel the viewer toward the film’s fast-paced, ironic conclusion. The way that chance and fate intervene here to foil the best-laid plans of men was to become a theme in later Kubrick films.

— David Alberico

Screening Details

  • Section: Stanley Kubrick: American Master Abroad
  • Film Type: Dramatic Feature
  • Country: U.S.A.
  • Run Time: 83 min.
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