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The Killing

When ex-con Johnny Clay says he has a plan to make a killing, everybody wants in on the action, especially when it involves stealing $2 million in a racetrack robbery where “no one will get hurt.” But despite their careful plotting, Clay and his men have overlooked one thing: money-hungry, double-crossing dame Sherry Peatty.

Chosen for My Noir by

Mike Todd, filmmaker, journalist and consultant at Riverhorse:

The Killing, Stanley Kubrick’s first fully funded feature, was an exclamation mark at the end of the noir era. And for me, it’s one of the best heist movies ever made. It combines innovation, using pioneering non-linear storytelling techniques, with a self-aware mastery of the genre.

But it’s the hard-boiled dialogue that really makes this film what it is. Kubrick teamed up with cult favourite Jim Thompson to deliver an exceptional, rapid-fire script. When it comes to the poetry of pulp, there are few, if any, better than Thompson. Who wouldn’t love a film with the line: “You’ve got a dollar sign where your heart should be”? Now that’s film noir.”