Killing Them Softly Reviews

Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
Top Critic
December 4, 2012

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

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Cary Darling
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
Top Critic
December 3, 2012

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

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Christopher Orr
The Atlantic
Top Critic
November 30, 2012

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.

Justin Chang
Variety
Top Critic
November 30, 2012

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.

Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
Top Critic
November 30, 2012

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.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic
November 30, 2012

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.

Full Review | Original Score: B+
Soren Anderson
Seattle Times
Top Critic
November 30, 2012

Dominik ... expertly captures the flavor of his Higgins source material.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
Top Critic
November 30, 2012

A stylish, brutal affair that delivers grim atmosphere and punishing violence but loses impact in telegraphing its political punches.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic
November 30, 2012

If those cynical politics don't fit yours, you can also enjoy the film as simply a bit of stylishly shot, nicely acted, hardboiled noir.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Tom Long
Detroit News
Top Critic
November 30, 2012

Let's just call it DOA.

Full Review | Original Score: D+
Kyle Smith
New York Post
Top Critic
November 30, 2012

It isn't much of a movie. I might forgive the slow start if it weren't for the slow middle and slow end.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Alonso Duralde
TheWrap
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

While the cast is consistently watchable and on-point, Dominik disappoints as both scenarist and filmmaker.

Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

Pitt, entering his third decade of fame, continues to show how there was always a deadly serious actor in him all along.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

There is not one moment in the film that doesn't represent the director's carefully considered thought, whether we're talking about acting values, camera placement, sound or style of presentation.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Dana Stevens
Slate
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

It's hard to deglamorize the criminal life when you can't resist showing a bullet leaving a gun barrel in stylized super-slow motion or scoring the anti-hero's first entrance to a Johnny Cash song.

Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

It has a weird, buzzing, intense quality that has burrowed its way deep into my brain like some invasive sci-fi organism.

Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

The writer-director becomes so intent on hammering home the parallels between economic decay, political disappointments and petty criminals, there is nothing soft, or subtle, about it. He should trust his audience more.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

This is a deeply cynical movie, with not much to say but a lot to feel.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Claudia Puig
USA Today
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

Languorous to the point of rambling, the story of double-crossing and vengeance is darkly funny, graphically violent and gorgeously shot.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Stephanie Zacharek
NPR
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

It's the characters, and their words, that drive the story here, and Dominik preserves all their scruffy colors ...

Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

The film, for all its visual felicities, comes to life only sporadically.

Kristin Tillotson
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

Clever dialogue can make up for one-dimensional characters, and amped-up action can disguise a thin plot. Here, we get too little of either.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

Jolting, suspenseful, full of twisted sympathy for its goons' row of characters, and wickedly amusing to boot, Killing Them Softly summons up the ghosts of Goodfellas and a whole nasty tradition of crime pics.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

A bleakly comic, brutally Darwinian gangland saga that at times comes close to being this year's "Drive."

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

Like the politicians it tries to pull into the big picture, "Killing Them Softly" promises more than it delivers.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

The Louisiana locations are appropriately cruddy, and the occasional scenes of violence are frightening, visceral, and beautifully photographed.

James Berardinelli
ReelViews
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

Killing Them Softly is 2012's answer to Mean Streets.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
A.O. Scott
New York Times
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

The movie is more concerned with conjuring an aura of meaningfulness than with actually meaning anything.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

The acting is aces, especially Pitt mixing it up with the superb James Gandolfini, as an assassin losing his game to hooch and hookers. They make this movie a potently nasty provocation.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

Dominik turns this potentially gritty crime flick into a soggy political metaphor for the 2008 financial crisis.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Scott Tobias
AV Club
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

While it isn't unusual for nasty little genre movies like Dominik's stylish heist thriller to smuggle such themes under the surface, Killing Them Softly makes them startlingly explicit.

Full Review | Original Score: B+
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

This is a talkative picture, allowing time and space for comically preoccupied and quirkily pathetic exchanges between all sorts of strays and losers.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

It seems as if I've been seeing versions of this story since forever.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
Top Critic
November 28, 2012

One of the best things in the movie is a conversation between Pitt and Jenkins, on a torrential day, seated in a nondescript car beneath a bridge.

Rex Reed
New York Observer
Top Critic
November 28, 2012

The point of this vile, cynical and ultimately preposterous film is that America is reeling from spiritual numbness and ethical paralysis, and optimism is a game for fools.

Christy Lemire
Associated Press
Top Critic
November 28, 2012

An incredibly stylish genre exercise set in the world of mobsters, junkies and lowlifes, but it's also trying incredibly hard to be About Something.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Randy Myers
San Jose Mercury News
Top Critic
November 28, 2012

The scenes between Pitt and Gandolfini are the highlights of "Killing," with the two actors pivoting off each other with the ease and precision of gymnasts.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Glenn Kenny
MSN Movies
Top Critic
November 28, 2012

And at the end, when that character collides head on with the election theme Dominik tends to overstate throughout, it all leads up to a punch line so thoroughly anti-inspirational and mordantly funny and just about perfect ...

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Karina Longworth
Village Voice
Top Critic
November 27, 2012

It's a movie that shows, and then tells, tells, and tells again, its vibrant conjuring of contemporary cynicism felled by Dominik's lack of faith in his audience's ability to connect thematic dots.

Keith Uhlich
Time Out New York
Top Critic
November 27, 2012

Puffed up with cynical pretension ...

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Jordan Hoffman
Film.com
Top Critic
November 26, 2012

a humdinger of a cinematic exercise

Full Review | Original Score: A-
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic
November 26, 2012

Grimly amusing then shockingly brutal.

Jon Frosch
The Atlantic
Top Critic
May 30, 2012

Dominik's frontal critique of US-style capitalism may be facile, but it gives the movie a bristling anger and a more lasting burn than other recent offerings in the same genre.

Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
Top Critic
May 24, 2012

Possesses a modicum of swagger and style, even as it perpetuates some of the crime genre's more tedious cliches, from slow-motion savagery to facile cynicism.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Dave Calhoun
Time Out
Top Critic
May 22, 2012

It pulls off the clever trick of operating as a gangster movie - featuring characters with missions to complete and people to kill - while at the same time sarkily undermining these same folk, attributing them with a heavy dose of incompetence.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
Top Critic
May 22, 2012

Despite enough pummeling to flatten Rocky Balboa in all six movies, the only thing that truly rewards your attendance is Pitt in another effortless star performance.

Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic
May 22, 2012

In Killing Them Softly, Dominik's first feature since The Assassination of Jesse James, Pitt once again plays a quietly powerful sociopath, and once again the screen vibrates.

Todd McCarthy
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic
May 22, 2012

A juicy, bloody, grimy and profane crime drama that amply satisfies as a deep-dish genre piece, Killing Them Softly rather insistently also wants to be something more.