As another movie I can check off my film noir journey, this is a solid film adapted from the short story by Ernest Hemingway. This film allows the audience to piece together the mystery along with Reardon. As he interviews people, the movie shows their stories through flashback sequences. Each flashback has strong noir elements, some including:
- A Boxing Fight - The Swede was a boxer who ended his career after breaking his hand during his last fight. After Swede leaves the ring, he doesn't turn back and enters the underworld of crime.
- The Hideouts - When segments are shown of the gangsters planning their heist, the crew are typically seen playing cards and smoking cigars in small rundown places.
- The Heist - When the payroll robbery takes place, each man puts a scarf around their face as a disguise. When they leave with the money, the crew fights their way out with firearms and escape in a classic getaway car.
Finally, we have to talk about the subject of the movie's title - The Killers. Although they make very little appearance, the two hitmen are bookends of the film. One being tall and strong, the other short and stocky, they both carry a demeanor of intimidation. When they make a presence on screen, they are cued with the same brassy musical tones which eventually become the theme music for Dragnet. When The Killers make their first appearance, they take hostage of a diner and demand to know where The Swede can be found. They are violent, rude, and not to be questioned. When they make their second appearance at the end of the film, even though they are killed, they still command the situation. Although they are not as charismatic as Jules and Vincent of Pulp Fiction, they are men to be feared. If I were to watch this film again, I'm sure The Killers will send shivers up my spine.
So on Death List Five, The Killers ranks #3