The criminality we see in "The Killers" is that of the 1920s Chicago mafia. The two characters in question – the killers themselves – are attributed every mob cliché known to man: big black overcoats, "tight lips," gloves, and major attitudes. At the same time, they manage to operate with Vaudevillian undertones: the two-man-act, constant bickering, sarcastic exchanges. It is this odd duality that renders "The Killers" and its portrayal of criminality a strange mix of fantastic and the real, a snapshot of a feasible-if-atypical scenario injected with a healthy dose of theatrical drama.
"The Killers" is an exploration of what happens when movie clichés meet reality. It concludes that these two worlds are incompatible.