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Killing Them Softly (2012)



Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 212
Fresh: 158 | Rotten: 54

Killing Them Softly is a darkly comic, visceral thriller that doubles as a cautionary tale on capitalism, whose message is delivered with sledgehammer force.


Average Rating: 6.6/10
Critic Reviews: 48
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 18

Killing Them Softly is a darkly comic, visceral thriller that doubles as a cautionary tale on capitalism, whose message is delivered with sledgehammer force.



liked it
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 119,541

My Rating

Movie Info

Three dumb guys who think they're smart rob a Mob protected card game, causing the local criminal economy to collapse. Brad Pitt plays the enforcer hired to track them down and restore order. Killing Them Softly also features Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, and Vincent Curatola. Max Casella, Trevor Long, Slaine and Sam Shepard also make appearances. -- (C) Weinstein


Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Comedy

Mar 26, 2013


The Weinstein Co. - Official Site External Icon

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March 26, 2013:
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All Critics (212) | Top Critics (48) | Fresh (158) | Rotten (54) | DVD (1)

'Killing Them Softly' collapses under the crushing weight of the director's narcissism.

December 4, 2012 Full Review Source: Richard
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The anvils of obviousness rain down so hard and fast in New Zealand-born/Australian-based director Andrew Dominik's meditation on low-rent crime and American decline, that it might as well be a Coyote-Road Runner cartoon

December 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram/
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Like its source material, the movie is stylish, profane, intelligent, and eminently diverting. But as much as it is a delight that Dominik has disinterred Higgins's work, it is a mild disappointment that the result is not more substantial.

November 30, 2012 Full Review Source: The Atlantic
The Atlantic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Trading in pleasures of a deliberately rarefied sort, writer-director Andrew Dominik's talky, character-rich genre piece largely short-circuits thrills to sketch a grimly funny portrait of thugs taking care of business, in every rotten sense of the word.

November 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ultimately, as crafted as Killing Them Softly is, it's less satisfying than either The Sopranos or Goodfellas. Still, Dominik and his cast cruise some very mean streets indeed.

November 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The dialogue is sharp and so are the performances. Andrew Dominik directed this neo-noir in a low-key comic style that's alternately gritty and fancy. The gritty stuff is best.

November 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With such a strong cast, it's hard to imagine how things went so wrong.

August 17, 2014 Full Review Source: Under the Radar
Under the Radar

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.

August 11, 2014 Full Review Source: Film School Rejects
Film School Rejects

Ain't nothin' new about it, but it's a cool 97 minutes of seedy amusement.

July 27, 2013 Full Review Source:

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.

June 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Deadspin

It's a middling gangster film, but belabored with too much Sturm und Drang, particularly in banging over the audience's head the constant reminders of the fiscal cliff.

June 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Andrew Dominik's follow-up to 'The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford' too often fails to engage with its uneven mix of guns and gab.

May 13, 2013 Full Review Source: The Patriot Ledger
The Patriot Ledger

Andrew Dominik's Killing Them Softly is a potent and miraculously-shot film that captures America's recent financial collapse through a criminal lens.

March 24, 2013 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

A noir-ish crime drama with a brain, and despite its flaws and inconsistencies, a film worth seeing. Dominik remains a filmmaker to watch.

March 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinemania

Complex and problematic in a rather wonderful way, Killing Them Softly has flaws more interesting than some film's perfections.

March 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Film4

Brad Pitt excels amongst an incredible ensemble cast in this gritty crime thriller.

March 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Concrete Playground
Concrete Playground

There are many cinematic cardinal sins, but the latest film from Aussie director Andrew Dominik commits two of the big ones - Don't Be Boring and Don't Waste A Great Cast.

February 12, 2013 Full Review Source: The Standard
The Standard

A top-notch, viscerally powerfully mobster movie with a view of free-market enterprise as practiced at its most harrowingly basic, last-man-standing level.

February 4, 2013 Full Review Source: American Profile
American Profile

Australian director Andrew Dominik mixes conventional mobster mayhem with an unconventional take on gangsters caught up in the Great Recession. And with Brad Pitt as his ideologically enraged male muse hitman, as if wandering in from Occupy Wall Street.

January 5, 2013 Full Review Source: WBAI Radio
WBAI Radio

While Dominik flourishes when it comes to the picture's excessive violence, he seems to be unable to balance those sequences with the drawn-out scenes of dialogue, which, while delivered nicely, kill any momentum the film might have had.

January 4, 2013 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Good actors and unimpeachable source material hampered by faulty chatter, leading to thumb-twiddling.

December 20, 2012 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Director Andrew Dominik controls the clock

December 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

Weary and familiar foray in to gangster turf

December 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

It's a rollercoaster: long talky tete a tetes, punctuated with shocking violence (both of which are masterfully presented).

December 12, 2012 Full Review Source:

Killing Them Softly finds its own rhythm and eventually its own way of building dread, punctuated by bravura cinematic moments that won't soon be forgotten

December 12, 2012 Full Review Source:

The completely obvious comparison to the mobster world and our American economic system is a welcome, straight-forward surprise for storytelling.

December 11, 2012 Full Review Source: The Scorecard Review
The Scorecard Review

Audience Reviews for Killing Them Softly

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.
April 1, 2014
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

With the arsenal of stars in this movie you would think it would be a homerun, well it's not. Something was off about it, I think it was the lack of substance; too much talk and not enough walk. It needed more action and grit in my opinion. So because of that, Killing Them Softly is an alright movie at best.
September 15, 2013
Eric Alvarez

Super Reviewer

It's not as gritty as Scorsese, nor pretty as Tarantino, but it does feature some excellent conversations between Brad Pitt and (1) Richard Jenkins and (2) James Gandolfini and it's interestingly punctuated by Obama's 2008 election speeches. The plot around these scenes is predictably plain, though, and as a result I found the whole thing a bit boring. While Dominik's last film, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, was slow-moving, it was engaging nonetheless; what we have here is a run-of-the-mill gangster movie, its economic crisis allegory notwithstanding. A letdown from this director, we've already seen better from him.
September 11, 2013

Super Reviewer

Killing Them Softly is the last great American Classic albeit directed by a Kiwi. It may not be a classic yet but it will be, it certainly deserves to be. Great writing and great characters, its funny and brutal. It's life. The script is the best I've heard for ages, often underplayed but always perfectly timed. Choose your political preference, it doesn't matter an inch, America is a business, now f**king pay me! This might just be my favorite film of the year so far....
September 11, 2013

Super Reviewer

    1. Mickey: I don't take orders from you!
    – Submitted by Kia M (19 months ago)
    1. Jackie: What's the problem?
    2. Driver: It's murder and they're squeamish.
    3. Jackie: Oh, for fuck's sake! Who's running things?
    4. 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.
    5. Jackie: What is it, a committee?
    6. Driver: Total corporate mentality!
    – Submitted by Marina P (19 months ago)
    1. Jackie: America is not a country. It's just a business. Now pay me.
    – Submitted by Jorge C (20 months ago)
    1. 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.
    – Submitted by Jorge C (20 months ago)
    1. Jackie: This guy wants to tell me we're living in a community? Don't make me laugh! I'm livin in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country, it's just a buisness... now fuckin pay me!
    – Submitted by Rich H (21 months ago)
    1. Jackie: I live here in America. And in America, you're on your own.
    – Submitted by Moe J (21 months ago)
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