The Killing (PG)
+ Presentation from Ron Dickman

An important issue in recent physics is determinism and randomness. The laws of physics, be they classical or quantum, are deterministic: given the initial state of a system, its state at any later time is provided by solving the equations of motion.

The pattern of foam after a wave breaks, the ridges of your fingerprints, are determined down to every detail by the initial state of the Universe. And yet, we can barely predict next week’s weather, let alone the flow of a roiling brook. Physicists use the word “chaos” in the special sense of long-term unpredictability in deterministic systems.

Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing is a graphic illustration of chaos in human affairs. As in many films noir, a tiny departure from the plan leads to disaster. The inevitability of failure may remind the viewer of a Greek tragedy; here, the chorus is replaced by a pulp-fiction style narrator, who as the film begins, details a brilliantly conceived crime.

The mastermind, one Johnny Clay (Sterling Hayden), has assembled with chronometric precision, a series of events that will wreak chaos at a race track, setting the scene for a flawless robbery. Clay frames to use and control chaos, but greed and insecurity, and even the escape of a small poodle, end up trapping him and annihilating his colleagues.

Date & Time

6th December 2016 @ 6.15pm


The Barbican, Cinema 2