Killing Them Softly (2012)
Critic Consensus: Killing Them Softly is a darkly comic, visceral thriller that doubles as a cautionary tale on capitalism, whose message is delivered with sledgehammer force.
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as Johnny Amato
as Markie Trattman
as Steve Caprio
as Barry Caprio
as Kenny Gill
as Poker Guy
as Business Suit Agent
as Cab Driver Agent
as Security Force Agent
as Bartender #1
as Bartender #2
as Bar Patron #2
as Bar Patron #1
as Bar Patron #3
as Business Suit Agent
as Bartender #2
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Critic Reviews for Killing Them Softly
This physical world is malleable, the means to disconcerting loveliness and expressive power... all under cover as a political parable in the form of an urgent, restless gangster picture. Rain falls, words tumble, violence erupts. Lyricism ensues.
With such a strong cast, it's hard to imagine how things went so wrong.
f you find Dominik's unsubtle political statements too obvious, there is still plenty else going on in Killing Them Softly to marvel at with its familiar, and yet fresh, genre elements.
Ain't nothin' new about it, but it's a cool 97 minutes of seedy amusement.
Dominik wears his nihilism as a badge, but that's not what it is at all: It's a crutch, and an awfully flimsy one.
Audience Reviews for Killing Them Softly
With a cast of stars including Pitt, Gandolfini and Liotta and based on a crime novel involving the mafia, hits and heists you would expect this to be excellent. So is it? yes! well no, hmmm...errr yeeaah...kinda.
The plot in this film is really very simple and pretty thin. Ray Liotta's character sets up his own poker ring operation for the loot and gets away with it scot-free. Sometime later two losers do the same thing to Liotta's poker ring and they get away with all the loot...putting Liotta's character under suspicion. Pitt's hitman character is then brought in to sort out the whole situation and find out who stuck up the poker ring for a second time. Which I might add he manages quite easily it seems.
That's the game in a nutshell and like Pitt's acting its basic. This film is semi decent yet flawed, flawed in the sense that the plot is stretched out to 1h 37min with lots of pointless dialog. Most of which bares no relation to the actual plot but just drones on. The main sequences guilty of this are the dialogs between Pitt and Gandolfini, the latter of which just goes on and on about screwing hookers whilst drinking and not much else.
To be honest the plot is half way complete early into the film, Pitt has his job to do and it doesn't need this long to watch him do it. Don't get me wrong though the acting is terrific throughout from almost all players involved...well the stars, accept Pitt. Liotta is turned from tough guy to punch bag in this mobster story and he does it well. Gandolfini looks every bit like a real mafioso head honcho year by year and does what he does best despite the meaningless rambling dialog he has and Jenkins is solid n stoic as ever.
For me this film does highlight how very average an actor Pitt is surrounded by some serious acting stalwarts. Again don't get me wrong, Pitt does OK in his role and in any less of a film he would be fine but this is a grown up mobster flick and he just doesn't match up. I'm not really too sure why they would cast the guy in this type of film really.
One sequence I don't get with Pitt's character is when he whacks one guy...but using a shotgun?! Not only that but he does it from a distance! surely shotguns aren't that effective from a distance and surely carrying out a hit this way would attract a lot of attention from say...the noise?! Not to mention the mess and damage, ah what do I know.
The other thing that bugged me was Scoot McNairy and his annoying tone of voice, the guy sounded like Shaggy outta 'Scooby Doo' for Pete's sake!! geeeez! Didn't think much of Ben Mendelsohn either really. He's an Aussie actor and plays an Aussie in the film, the guy just didn't fit into the story at all, typical US hoods and an Aussie, nah.
The profanity count is high and the violence is brutal, it may make you wince, possibly even jump at times but there isn't lots of it. As this takes place in 2008 there is also snippets from the real event of President Obama's election campaign and victory, why? I'm not so sure as it has no real relevance to the plot or its outcomes. There is a political message in here as Pitt's character states 'America's not a country, its just a business', its all about $$$.
The film is well directed whilst visually it looks slick and gritty, but its trying to hard to be a Scorsese product or trying to hard to be something unique and different. Either way it doesn't really make it mainly down to the fact there isn't much of a plot to speak of.
A quiet, slow and dark crime thriller about a robbery and the consequences. The cast is well picked and delivers the realistic, sometimes pretty funny and nihilistic lines perfectly. The few bursts of violence are excellently filmed. Ultimately, it is the commentary on the state of the Union that feels a bit forced with political speeches on TVs and radios pretty much throughout the film. Still a worthy and highly entertaining addition to the genre.
Two small time ex-cons stick up a card game frequented by organized criminals and find themselves targeted by a mob enforcer who is brought in to investigate the robbery. Judging by the constant and heavy-handed news sound-bites centring around the recent economic crisis, Killing Them Softly is clearly making making an analogy with the US economy as these mobsters are also feeling the financial pinch. It's a very cynical and cold-hearted film that forces you to spend time with some very unlikeable and unpleasant characters, particularly James Gandolfini's burnt out hit man who makes Tony Soprano look like a loveable teddy bear. There are some nice visual flourishes and the plotting is tight and economical, being very reminiscent of a hard boiled crime thriller of the 1970s, but at the same time it's very wordy and without any engaging characters rather hard going. The star of the show is most certainly Brad Pitt; his pragmatic enforcer is easily the best character and I wish I'd spent more time with him. His final speech is powerful and right on the money but it just served to make me wish that this theme was actually explored rather more during the rest of the film. Killing Them Softly is certainly an interesting film, but the moral bankruptcy of corporate America was highlighted with more subtlety and wit in the superior Michael Clayton.
Killing Them Softly Quotes
|Mickey:||I don't take orders from you!|
|Jackie:||What's the problem?|
|Driver:||It's murder and they're squeamish.|
|Jackie:||Oh, for fuck's sake! Who's running things?|
|Driver:||You have no idea! No decision makers. I gotta take them by the hand and I gotta walk them slowly through it like they're retarded children.|
|Jackie:||What is it, a committee?|
|Driver:||Total corporate mentality!|
|Jackie:||America is not a country. It's just a business. Now pay me.|
|Jackie:||Don't make me laugh. I'm living in America. And in America, you're on your own. America is not a country. It's just a business. Now pay me.|
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