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    A Killing

    Trifecta imperfecta

    A kid who's never known anything but the racetrack gets himself in trouble with a fast-money scheme in the less clever than confusing "A Killing."


    When we first see Max, he's a tot tout — the youngster's dad brings him to the racetrack to predict the winning horses. Given this talent and this father, Max the man apparently has grown up with the track in his blood, crooks for role models, and little sense of how to make an honest buck in the world. When pop loses control of his gambling habit and is about to lose his house, naturally Max starts thinking up an underhanded scheme for repaying the debt.

    Written and directed by: Alex Klymko.
    Cast: Chris Knoblock, Jennifer Corby, Addison Cook, Bob Balogh, Richard V. Licata, Christine Karl, Paul Goncalves, Josyf Hayda, Austap Wolfgang.
    Cinematography: Abe Schrager.
    This dysfunctional father-son relationship is the most interesting thing about "A Killing." At one point, when dad searches for the highest possible praise for his son, it's that the boy always could pick the horses. It's interesting to see how the dad's pathetic life has shaped his son for the worse. It's equally interesting to wonder whether the filmmakers meant either of these characters as heroes in our story, because they're not.

    The acting and production of "A Killing" are quite professional. (Even sex scenes are cleverly staged to mask the probable use of body doubles, using a fish to block the view!) But they can't overcome a confounding script in which loose ends abound — dead bodies vanish, people know things they shouldn't, some plot lines start nowhere, others end nowhere. The confusion makes it difficult to enjoy anything else about the film.

    JANUARY 31, 2000

    Reader comments on A Killing:

  • check it out   from jb, Nov 23, 2000
  • A killing performance   from Tony Prisendorf, Mar 12, 2005

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