Killing Beauty

‘But if you could just see the beauty,
These things I could never describe’

Isolation by Joy Division

When I watched The Killing I could not believe what a visual treat it was. The beauty of the photography, the lighting and the styling of the show blew me away. Following each episode I would find one or two scenes etched in my mind’s eye, the same way I would remember a favourite painting or photograph in an exhibition.

Recently I went to a Munch exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and some of the paintings in that exhibition became etched in my mind in the same way as scenes from the Killing. Maybe the same way Munch’s ‘The Scream’ became etched in Andy Warhol’s mind when he made numerous screen printed versions of it, including ones where he stripped out all tone perhaps trying to emphasise the tortured, isolated figure.

When they filmed The Killing they played with the tones, stripping out colour on the film so that the red of the blood would be emphasised and isolated when the audience saw it. When colour was used it was all emphasised by the stripped back look and the dark tones used in the filming. This technique went a long way to helping the feel and mood of the series and enhanced the story line in a subtle way.

The theme of isolation is distilled and presented in a real world, physical story in the Killing. All the spiritual concepts such as love, beauty and forgiveness become more profound when juxtapositioned next to the fear, anger, sadness and isolation of the various characters but particularly Lund’s own personal isolation. Edvard Munch said ‘I paint and think in the present. I live in the past and the future.’ Lund isolates herself because she works and thinks in the present and she lives in the past and the future. It is not until the final scene of The Killing 3 that we see her live in the present and we all know what happened then…

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