Starring: Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
Written By: Stanley Kubrick
Rating: NR (US) Running Time: 1 hr 25 min
Stanley Kubricks third film, but first good film in my opinion. This film noir thriller is fast, tight and exciting. The ideal robbery of a racecourse is gritty and very well constructed. All the characters are distinctive and well acted. The dialogue flies, and the direction is assured and classy. At one point, Kubrick tracks through up to 3 rooms as the actors walk and talk, giving us a real “fly on the wall” feeling. The narration takes us through the preceding back stories and then gives us a blow-by-blow of characters, locations and times as we get closer and closer to the robbery.
The tension builds and the characters begin to show signs of nervousness. The big problem of course is a femme fatale, played by Coleen Gray, who has her own devious plans to thwart her husbands. She is superbly manipulative but ultimately (Spoiler) it comes to nothing, life’s own random happen-chance ruins all in the final moments. It’s utterly gripping and the sense of tension is high as we try to escape with our main anti-hero. Like all good film noirs, it’s all doomed, but it’s grim fun as we watch desperate characters try to make their own fate.
Imagine a black and white “Reservoir Dogs” but where you get to see the robbery. It’s thrilling and the best entry point for those wishing to see what the fuss is all about with this Kubrick fellow.
A large TV would be good so you can immerse yourself in the action.
Best moment for me:
The robbery is the highlight, everything builds up to it and even though it’s talked about and planned for the whole time – all the details are not shared until it happens. Fascinating and seemingly perfectly executed. Much like the film as a whole.