Killing Them Softly (2012)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

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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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
Rating:
R (for violence, sexual references, pervasive language and some drug use)
Genre:
Comedy , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

Cast

Brad Pitt
as Jackie
Scoot McNairy
as Frankie
Ben Mendelsohn
as Russell
Vincent Curatola
as Johnny Amato
Ray Liotta
as Markie Trattman
Trevor Long
as Steve Caprio
Max Casella
as Barry Caprio
Sam Shepard
as Dillon
Slaine Jenkins
as Kenny Gill
Ross Brodar
as Poker Guy
Wade Allen
as Business Suit Agent
Christopher Berry
as Cab Driver Agent
Kenneth Brown Jr.
as Security Force Agent
Mustafa Harris
as Bartender #1
Dared Wright
as Waiter
John McConnell
as Bartender #2
Shannon Brewer
as Bar Patron #2
Bryan Billingsley
as Bar Patron #1
Roger L. Pfeiffer
as Bar Patron #3
Joe Chrest
as Business Suit Agent
John "Spud" McConnell
as Bartender #2
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Killing Them Softly

All Critics (215) | Top Critics (49)

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

Full Review… | December 4, 2012
Richard Roeper.com
Top 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

Full Review… | December 3, 2012
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
Top 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.

Full Review… | November 30, 2012
The Atlantic
Top 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.

Full Review… | November 30, 2012
Variety
Top 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.

Full Review… | November 30, 2012
Denver Post
Top 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.

Full Review… | November 30, 2012
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Killing Them Softly

An extremely tense and brutal thriller that makes an intelligent comparison between the mafia and the American economic system, even though the analogy is also a bit heavy-handed, and it benefits from a deliberate pace and great performances from a sharp cast.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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.

Phil Hubbs
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

½

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.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer

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