Time: 105 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Film Noir
Academy Award nominations for Best Director, Film Editing, Score and Screenplay.
SYNOPSIS: Hit men kill an unresisting victim called Swede, forcing insurance investigator Reardon to uncovers Swede's past and his involvement with the beautiful, deadly Kitty Collins.
BOTTOM LINE: Lancaster makes the most of his big screen debut as a washed-up boxer, known as "the Swede," whose seemingly unwarranted murder kickstarts an investigation into his dark past. Edmund O'Brien plays Jim Reardon, an insurance investigator, who realizes there's more to this brutal hit than meets the eye. The plot takes us back and forth in time, as Reardon tries to figure out why the Swede accepted his impending demise instead of running from it or at least putting up a fight.
The key to the mystery appears to lay in the whereabouts of Kitty Collins (Gardner), a real looker who used to be the Swede's main squeeze. It seems the Swede agreed to help pull off a payroll robbery with a group of unsavory fellows in order to be close to Kitty, who was dating the gang's leader Big Jim Colfax (Dekker). The Swede never imagined someone so lovely could be so devious. The robbery goes exactly as planned. Unfortunately, the Swede didn't realize his true role until it was too late.
THE KILLERS is a well-woven tale that's a joy to watch unravel, filled with surprises that pack a real wallop. The B&W cinematography, creative camera angles, intricate screenplay and first-rate acting, come together to create a suspenseful, moody, entrancing piece that keeps you riveted from beginning to end. Lancaster and Gardner have great chemistry and these early performances show why they became such big stars. It's a film that deserves to be more well known and is worth seeking out.