Stanley Kubrick's second feature film is an effective and well crafted noir with great attention to detail. No great surprises with the plot but a well told solid story with some fantastic cinematography.
Comparing this to the other films he made, it simply is not as strong and for a good reason since this really is his first feature film (I don't feel it is right to count Fear and desire among them). But that does not change the fact that Killers kiss is a great noir movie, fresh and youthful with a hint of what was about to come from one of the greatest directors of all time.
I love returning to this movie! The imagery is very potent. More so than the Killing. The story though flawed, has emotional resonance. Kubrick achieved so much with so little. This is his most youthful movie. He could get away with a rough sense of spontaneity, being its only his second movie. This is kubrick's sunrise.
Filled with noir iconography captured by the eye of a young Stanley Kubrick. There are so many purely photographic moments that show a real affection for the genre's tropes. The plot is extremely convoluted, as most film noirs deliberately are, but I found myself being really drawn in by the visuals. The contrasty black-and-white cinematography is beautiful even if the film itself is a little rough around the edges.
The visuals attest to Kubrick's photographer's visual sense, so it looks amazing in spots. The story, though, really does nothing for the film. It's great to look at, and interesting to watch to see where Kubrick began, but outside of that it is forgettable.
A remarkably crafted, beautifully lit and thrilling second effort that couldn't be further from the amateurish moorings of his first feature, this film stands as proof that its then 27-year old director always learned something valuable from past experiences.
With a nonexistent budget, as well as directors inexperience at the time, it was probably hard to provoke more charismatic actors, developed characters and less of a cliche story. But as composing the mix into a believable (and quite picturesque at it) whole goes, it is a deserved directing degree.