Crime Doesn’t Pay in ‘The Killing’

David Lehman at The American Scholar:

The Killing ends with the greatest money shot in the movies, its nearest competition being the shower of love bestowed on James Stewart on Christmas Eve at the end of It’s A Wonderful Life. Johnny and Fay are at the airport about to board a flight to Boston and freedom. He doesn’t want to let go of the suitcase, but it is too big for the overhead compartment, so he reluctantly yields it. He and Fay watch the suitcase totter atop the checked luggage in the cart taking it from terminal to plane. When a spectator’s dog runs into the cart’s path, the driver swerves, and the suitcase falls off. It pops opens, and the money flies around like snow in a swirling wind.

The set-up has been executed perfectly and yet, because of a stray event, a tiny happenstance, all is for naught—all the blood spilled, all the careful calculation.

more here.