The Use of Many Editing Techniques in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Killing”

Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing uses many editing techniques to establish spatial, temporal, visual, and rhythmic relationships between shots. He strategically strings shots together in order to maintain continuity and create meaning. From the second the film begins, the editing sets the scene that the rest of the movie will support. In doing this, the movie creates moods and feelings that add to the overall story. The film begins with wide shots that establish the setting throughout the opening credits. By giving viewers multiple perspectives and scenes from the city the story is set in, the viewer is well prepared for the plot to develop from the time the opening credits are over. Because of this, central characters can be introduced and the developing action can begin taking place fairly quickly after the movie begins.

One very interesting aspect of the editing that creates a deeper meaning is the juxtaposition between George and Sherry‘s caged bird and the way Sherry is filmed directly in front of the window blinds. The blinds and the bird cage both resemblejail cell bars, indicating the feeling of being “trapped,“ Initially, Sherry appears in front of the blinds, because, as a woman, she is assumed to be trapped in her marriage. Before her dominance in the relationship is even established, however, the editing hints that George is, in fact, the trapped spouse by placing him in front of the blinds. We later discover that Sherry is having an affair, and leaves George feeling forced to live tip to her demands.

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This image is reiterated during the final scene in which the birdcage appears and solidifies the notion of George‘s being trapped in a marriage with a manipulative woman. Throughout the film, the “jail cell bar” image is repeated in other scenes as well, Quite frequently, the camera allows various bars, mostly in railings and staircases, to inhibit the shot and causes those standing behind it to appear closed in or restrained. Also, interestingly, the camera seems to be able to move horizontally through walls and follows characters through rooms, which suggests that even in the secretive life of crime, there is always someone watching. The cell bar imagery implies the inevitable fate of those who participate in such criminal activities.

The film uses montage to condense time and create a sense of movement. For example, there is a montage sequence showing the preparation for the heist that effectively conveys the complexity of the plan. Kubrick uses dissolves to create a sense of transition between scenes. For example, he uses a dissolve to transition from the tense heist scene to the aftermath of the robbery. Like many films noir, “The Killing” employs parallel editing to create connections between different characters and events. For example, Kubrick uses parallel editing to show the different characters’ reactions to the heist as they play out.

Finally, Kubrick also uses long takes to create a sense of tension and unease. There are several scenes where the camera lingers on a character or location, creating a feeling of unease and discomfort for the audience. Overall, the editing techniques used in “The Killing” are crucial to creating the film’s tense and complex narrative. Kubrick’s use of cross-cutting, jump cuts, montage, dissolves, parallel editing, and long takes all contribute to the film’s unique visual style and gripping storyline.

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The Use of Many Editing Techniques in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Killing”. (2023, May 12). Retrieved from