Posted on 2/05/13 09:23 AM
Second best Louisiana-based film of 2012!
Andrew Dominik succeeded in making a gritty and über-stylish neo-noir mobster flick. He used footage of the 2008 presidential campaign (especially Obama's speeches about hope which are running constantly in the background) and contrasts them with bleak shots of run-down trailer parks and towns which are struck hard by the economic crisis.
With just the right amount of tongue-in-cheek silliness, Killing Them Softly gives us insights in the financial problems of the mafia that came with the crisis. I don't think such a topic has been ever touched by a filmmaker, and the final monologue of Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) sums it up pretty well.
Casting was key for Dominik. Beside the surprisingly gritty Pitt who gives arguably one of the best performances of his career, Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn are perfect as two small-time crooks, who start the whole fateful incident with their robbery of an illegal poker game for Louisiana's mobster elite.
Even Ray Liotta, one actor I usually detest, shines as a living punching bag who is made responsible for the robbery and dies one of the most beautiful movie deaths I've seen in a while.
What Killing Them Softly does better than most other films in the genre, is that most of the characters are actually well-written and seem to have understandable motives. I think the reason why we get to know them so well, is because Dominik relies on long passages of dialogue between the different characters (much of it in hardly understandable Louisianian accent). Probably this was the reason why it didn't do so well at the box office. Target audiences with a lust for a violent crime pic won't be satisfied by this.
Killing Them Softly disappointed a bit, both critically and commercially, and I can only agree with most reviews. It's stylish, with great cinematography and good performances, but there's not one new thing or interesting twist in it. I admire the way Dominik actually gives a shit about characters and motives though.