Killer's Kiss ★★★★★

So, following in FilmApe's footsteps, I'm starting my Stanley Kubrick retrospective, viewing and ranking his available features. So, the first is Killer's Kiss, which is included as an add-on to Criterion's "The Killing" blu-ray.

I'm expecting to view a movie that shows a young filmmaker taking one of his first tentative steps on film, as this was just his second feature length film. Also, going into this, you obviously don't want to be to effusive or give too high a rating on the first film, because you want to be able to give higher ratings for Kubrick's great films.

So, I expected a middling movie and a middling reaction from myself, but what I got was an effing masterpiece of film noir right out the box! I really love film noir, and this is a quintessential film noir in every sense of the word - from setting, to plot, to plot devices (flashback within flashback within flashback), to photography, to voiceover, etc., etc., etc. There are three fight scenes - one in a boxing ring and two more in the city - that are masterfully filmed in close-up, and one more fight scene that is filmed as shadow-boxing in an alley. The climactic fight is staged in a warehouse full of naked female mannequins, which - to me - seems to be Kubrick saying, "Well, since the femme fatale in this movie doesn't have truly malicious intent, I'll stage a death scene among hundreds of bare plastic breasts to make my point. Happy now, women-haters?"

Even the "shortcomings" of this film - all of the dialogue was obviously dubbed after the fact and the foley sounds are a little bit overdone - just add to the atmosphere and charm of the film, in my opinion.

This film is instantly in my top 10 film noirs, and I don't know how any true lover of the noir form couldn't love this movie.

Oh well, a 5 out of 5 on the throwaway 60 minute long film - I haven't even gotten to the main film on the blu-ray. I guess there's no way to go but down for this Kubrick guy.