Robert Siodmak, USA 1946, 102 minutes
Rating: PG violence
Like many artistically ambitious Hollywood movies of the 1940s, The Killers is clearly influenced by Citizen Kane – not just in its Expressionistic lighting, showy camera angles, carefully contrived mirror shots and percussive montage but also in its flashback structure. Its dramatic personae, however, are pure pulp. Less a narrative than a Hollywood neighborhood, The Killers is populated by slang-slinging tough guys with tilted fedoras and dangled cigarettes and gorgeous dames who are not to be trusted. O’Brien is a low-rent Humphrey Bogart. Lancaster is dreamy, dense and doomed. Ava Gardner, in her first major movie, doesn’t do much more than exist. She hardly needs to. Materializing some 40 minutes into the movie in a backless black satin number, she turns from the hubbub of some dubious soiree to face the camera head-on.
– J. Hoberman, New York Times.