The Selfish Portrayal of Love

  The Killers is a film noir style movie that depicts a murder being investigated for an insurance claim.  The insurance claim detective, Riordan, investigates the murder of the Swede.  He recognizes a handkerchief that Swede had on his person at all times.  After further investigation, Riordan realizes that the Swede was involved in a huge robbery and stumbles upon the master plan of the unsolved robbery.  This film was shot in true film noir style, because it takes place in eerie night sequences.  It surrounds a femme fatale character, Kitty, who ends up causing the deaths of every man she involves in her life.

  The Killers attacks the idea of love.  Kitty Collins is a personification of love.  She takes on the form of lust in the beginning of the movie starting with her presentation and demeanor at the party when she first meets Swede, to her affair with him and resistance to being arrested.  She tricks Swede into being arrested so that she could continue her luxurious lifestyle.  She then abandons Swede and pursues Big Jim.  The relationship between Big Jim and Kitty gives the illusion of real love.  When Dum Dum kills Big Jim, the audience is presented with a very concerned, heartbroken wife.  As Jim dies and Kitty is incriminated in the master plan of the robbery, she tries to rise Big Jim from the dead in order to proclaim her innocence.  Kitty represents love.  She shows the lust with the Swede and the seemingly deeper relationship with Big Jim, but as it turns out she was also using him.  Her personification of love shows how love is only used for a person’s own gain.  Kitty uses the men in this film for her own gain, showing how selfish love is and how love does not work out.

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4 thoughts on “The Selfish Portrayal of Love

  1. Very interesting interpretation. I have to agree because The Killers as a film presents love not in its “traditional” sense, with a couple together because they love each other, but rather a perversion of it where, in this case, Kitty abuses the relationship to get ahead. I would not necessarily say the film “attacks” love but more distorts it to display how much it can take advantage of people. It does however portray love being negative because both men that “loved” Kitty died, making love represent a sort of poison that can infect others and be destructive, and through your idea this love/poison is actually Kitty.
    -Jonathan J Ryan

  2. I think that yes Kitty does represent a different form of love, but it may not be an attack on love all together. It certainly contradicts our normal representation of love, but I think that is a recurring theme throughout the movie. We have all of these ideas implanted in our minds of what love should be, and to see Kitty use love for her own gain is difficult for us, but it may just be a different “version” of love.

  3. I must disagree that Kitty personifies love. After the audience sees her true character they realize that she may symbolize lust and sexual appeal on the surface, but in terms of her character she personifies deception and greed. When Big Jim dies and all she asks is for him to prove her innocence, she shows little respect for her husband and little affection for his pain. The fact that she uses people “for her own gain” doesn’t necessarily mean that love is selfish and isn’t possible, it just means that ones actions can be controlled by the illusion of love or by pure deception. The way Kitty shows “love” represents manipulation and selfishness, but that doesn’t mean that “love is only used for a person’s own gain”.

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