Killer's Kiss ★★★

What is this, a Kubrick film I've only seen once? I can't stand for it.

And if you're a Kubrick fan KILLER'S KISS is definitely worth to see more than once. The story is utter crap but every step of the way it's a fascinating line-up of material from young Stanley's cinema workstudy. There are a couple of key scenes (when watched in retrospect) that are quite good and the last fight is actually quite great, since a guy is actually swinging an axe against another guy and it really looks like they're going to kill each other. This is guerrilla filmmaking made before Hollywood had a thousand lawsuits a day to think about. It's also a great postcard from 50's New York as it's shot with no permission what so ever and every "extra" in the street shots are looking straight into the camera, wondering what the hell it's doing there and if Marilyn Monroe is going to show up.

There's definitely seeds in KILLER'S KISS of 2001, THE SHINING (did I say there's a madman with an axe in here?) and in particular EYES WIDE SHUT, Kubricks only other New York film. I forget the actress in the female lead, but she's very much the Hitchcockian icy blonde which is oddly in tune with Nicole Kidman - then there's many minor scenes where Kubrick clearly uses many of the same strategies as he would in his last films (in particular juxtaposing different scenes shot in the same way).

Also, watching the film this time, I indulged myself in speculation on the possibility of personal investment from Kubrick's side, regarding the story. There's something suspicious about the dead sister ballerina "played" by Kubrick's then (soon to be divorced) wife, an actual ballet dancer doing a number while Kubrick to great effect puts a voice-over on it (but I can't say how happy I'd be if my significant other used me in a similar way). I can't help it, but I suspect young Kubrick imagines himself as the villain, a power-hungry, desire-driven man with an inferiority-complex who can't get the woman he loves, a high-class bird who thinks he's "old and smells bad".

In the documentary STANLEY KUBRICK: A LIFE IN PICTURES, Nicole Kidman says on first meeting him that "I thought he was kind of scruffy looking". Of course, this has nothing to do with KILLER'S KISS (time moves forwards and not backwards) but I just found it a striking "coincidence". Though it's not a known fact - or very important - I'd say it's pretty well known that Kubrick's hygiene habits weren't all top notch. Therefore, I don't think his heart was with the clean-cut goody two shoes-boxer from the country side. Rather I think Kubrick made a film about the gangster, a bossy city-cat who smokes and clicks a light-switch on and off (if you work with film, you know that this is the behavior of a director and/or DOP).

And after all, it's called KILLER'S KISS, not BOXER'S KISS: