Before Stanley went on making 150-180 minute epics, he started out with this little noir thriller about a boxer protecting the girl next door. At just over one hour this is his shortest ever film and only his only film to have an entirely original screenplay written by him. It’s easy to see why Stanley later looked to adapt stories by others, as Killer’s Kiss unfortunately isn’t up to much at all.
Considering that the film was made on a teeny weeny budget of $40,000 raised by friends and relatives (kind of like Darren Aronofsky’s Pi) it’s actually not too bad. It was also made during the pre-Spartacus era where the studios didn’t give Stanley final cut on his films and so his original ending was changed to a happier one. I think a solemn ending would’ve helped the film be slightly more memorable though.
The film is brilliantly shot and I couldn’t help but marvel at the use of lighting. Towards the end of the film, the lighting almost becomes another character and adds to the film’s incredibly stylish mood. It has the look of a classic noir however, it doesn’t have a story to match.
It all feels rather too conventional and fairly dull. There’s a boxing sequence which the back of the DVD compared to Raging Bull, but it’s nothing like and adds little to the story. There’s a good fight scene at the end, but by the time it’s all over I was left wondering what the point of it was.
It’s a brief film which features bland characters and a boring story. It is very stylish and lovely to look at but it doesn’t have much depth to it. You can tell that it’s directed by a man who knows his wizardry, however he clearly hadn’t fully learnt his craft yet. Let’s hope that the more lauded, The Killing has more to offer in the way of plot and thrills!