Killer's Kiss ★★½


Overly reliant on the voiceover narration here, which pops in too often and lasts far too long—either back-loaded with criminal amounts of exposition or just plain ancillary nonsense, which makes the more drawn out instances feel like a chore. The whole movie, in fact, has a swinging lull to it, and while I wouldn’t call it “boring” outright, it’s definitely sluggish—especially in the first act—even at only 67 minutes long. Character development is weak, and therefore the relationship we’re supposed to care about doesn’t exactly motivate us to do so. The overacting doesn’t help any, either, especially the exorbitant mannequin battle that’s full of so many blatant misses and impure stumbling it’ll make your head spin. Despite its flaws, however—and believe me, there are plenty—it does have some shining moments of clarity for the young Mr. Kubrick. The camerawork itself is refined and well done; the rooftop chase that precedes the mannequin fight e.g. is a scene of pure tension and suspense, wonderfully choreographed by Kubrick and acted with pure volition. The shooting, editing, and miming during the boxing scene is surprisingly authentic as well, and probably the most convincing instance I can think of that pre-dates RAGING BULL. Kind of a cop-out ending; I was beginning to wonder how this thing was going to wrap up as I was approaching the one-hour mark—I had forgotten that the entire story was basically a flashback. Meh, it’s for hardcore Kubrick fans only. But even as (1) a Kubrick piece, and (2) a campy noir, it doesn’t rank very high in either of those lists. (Dare I say, and perhaps I’m the only person on the planet who feels this way, I’d still choose this over A CLOCKWORK ORANGE—blasphemer! But it’s true.)

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