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The Killing

Dir. Stanley Kubrick. 1956. 85 mins. 35mm. With Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards, Jay C. Flippen, Elisha Cook Jr., Marie Windsor. Kubrick and pulp-fiction legend Jim Thompson co-wrote this darkly comic thriller about a racetrack heist gone awry. With its thick layers of irony and stopwatch-precise playing with time, Kubrick’s crime story (whose existential overtones and intricate structure inspired Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs) is his true narrative breakthrough, laying the groundwork for a filmography of flawed, failed masculinity and fatalistic humor.