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Not a single likeable character in this supposed comedy-noir metaphor for the state of 21st century America. Neither the hit men nor their targets managed to elicit either empathy nor sympathy throughout this dreary mob gambling affair.
A rather slow shaggy dog story, with no surprises along the way. the Gandolfini section was totally pointless, and just filled 20 minutes in the middle of the film.
A brutal slow burn with no glorified violence.
Andrew Dominik's Killing Them Softly (2012) is a visceral depiction of mob killings and robberies in America. It is a slow burn, but brief enough to keep you engaged. This is indie crime thriller done right as the violence is so sudden, jarring, realistic, and grisly that is not glorifying the crime, but mourning those who died. It portrays the criminals as broken men, destroyed by the Bush era economic recession, driven to criminal activity through desperation and necessity for survival instead of the usual greed and insanity. Killing Them Softly gives you the people struggling to live by stealing from those they kill.
Brad Pitt is phenomenal as the quiet contract killer Jackie Cogan. His nuanced portrayal of a man tired of false promises from politicians and roundabout dealings with criminals is fascinating as he is threatening. Every second Brad Pitt is on screen, you are drawn to his powerful aura and undeniable presence. He is a vicious machine, yet understated in how he depicts this man clearly sick of killing. For an assassin, Pitt knows how to visually demonstrate a man repulsed by his work, yet who feels like he is a necessary reaction to all the dealings going on around him. Pitt has an incredible role in Killing Them Softly.
Dominik's own direction is stellar. He takes on a more simple and grounded approach to crime thrillers by just letting characters monologue at length, while simultaneously setting up future killings. Thus making Killing Them Softly an unbearable suspense exercise as you are constantly on edge as to who might die next. The rapid and creative editing is especially neat. From the jarring editing in the title sequence as Scoot McNairy walks out of a tunnel to Brad Pitt exiting a car with a camera on the door for a shaking effects certainly entertain visual metaphorical parallels to the violence taking place on screen.
Greig Fraser's cinematography is beautiful and blunt like when Ray Liotta is getting brutally pummeled in the rain. The camera sits still for conversations, while the action pieces are chilling and casual with a suddenness that unnerves you.
Killing Them Softly boasts a magnificent supporting cast to back Brad Pitt up. Scoot McNairy gives his greatest acting ever as the young criminal Frankie. His nervous thug is both frightening that he would still rob people, yet pathetic at his naivety after the fact when Brad Pitt encounters him. Alongside, Ben Mendelsohn's gross and dirty Russell, McNairy and Mendelsohn keep you entertaining while the mob sets them up. Mendelsohn takes away all the charm and sympathy he gave to his filthy criminal from The Place Beyond the Pines for his unruly addict robber in Killing Them Softly.
Ray Liotta is brilliant as the collected and cowardly older gangster Markie Trattman. His cool and calm response to being robbed is admirable and makes you feel sorry for him, then by the time Liotta is getting beaten, you are astonished at the brutality of it all. Liotta is so excellent in Killing Them Softly that he has only ever been better in Goodfellas.
Similarly, James Gandolfini is remarkable as the grotesque and revolting hitman Mickey. His massive figure downing alcohol and sleeping with hookers is hard to watch, but riveting to listen to always.
On the other hand, Richard Jenkins is hilarious as Driver. His casual conversations about payment for killings next to Brad Pitt are very fun. You are disgusted by the callous off handed manner with which Jenkins discusses serial killing jobs for Pitt and Pitt plays off the stuffy Jenkins perfectly.
Sam Shepard and a few other great actors round out Killing Them Softly. I found the setting of Boston unsettling as the actual filming location of New Orleans looks so grim as if the whole world already ended. This fits the 2008 time period and the constant Bush and Obama speeches playing in the background sound so hollow compared to the suffering displayed on screen. Dominik is truly a great director and one to watch for still. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Killing Them Softly are both poignant think pieces into the nature of crimes and the men that commit them.
Honestly very boring. Not worth a watch
Good solid entertainment, with straightforward narrative and characters well told. Some good performances, and of course nice to see the late, great James Gandolfini here. Anyway, I was entertained and can't understand the hostile audience reaction to it here at RT. 4/5*
Beautiful and gritty. Characters are so REAL. Really shows that people in that lifestyle are not John Wicks in designer suits. Their poor and they don't take killing lightly.
Good entertainment and performances from the cast. I enjoyed it immensely.
its mean street version..
Killing Them Softly
Killing Them Softly is a character driven dramatic thriller about a part time killer hired to wipe out minor issues that started creating havoc in the criminal world. The structure of the script is distributed in various dramatic sequences that is almost long as an act; a wise choice by the writers to keep the substance flow and the audience tangled in its mean street bubble.
It is surprisingly hilarious with bits of tiny notions that draws out chuckle every now and then. The songs are aptly edited and installed, the art designing is of sweat drop precision, the choreography of the physical sequences is mesmerizing and the sound effects are sharp along with jaw dropping cinematography, fine editing and decent background score.
The conversations are pragmatic and weaved out like never before where in an action thriller like such, the audience starts rooting for those benign immature conversations. Pitt is reserved and lethal as always with a bit distracted Liotta, convincing Jenkins, hilarious duo McNairy and Mendelsohn and Gandolfini delivering unflinchingly as always.
Dominik offers enough range and space to these characters and milks out the best from the cast of caliber like such. Armed with such an elaborative script Dominik's action definitely speaks louder with stunning sequences executed that leaves a long lasting impression.
Whilst pulling off such raw gut wrenching script, the political satire unfortunately gets lost amidst all the whimsical notes and explosives, even though they bring it back to that point the audience couldn't care less for it, till then. The pragmatic conversations, electrifying dramatic sequences and Pitt amping up the heart are the high points of the feature.
Killing Them Softly is an homage to those Scorsese's mean street crime world and on that note, it is a tremendous success, beyond that it probably is gripping at best.
Killing them softly is a stylish thriller that should have been more popular then it ended up being. Brad Pitt is in fine touch as a hired killer and the visceral tone of the film is really good. This film is also funny in places but more like dark comedy. The killings are brutal and the violence is the unflinching kind. If you like dark movies with great sequences and a clever plot killing them softly is your movie to go to in 2012. (Brad Pitt's cool in this one).
Killing them softly is a stylish thriller that should have been more popular then it ended up being. Brad Pitt is in fine touch as a hired killer and the visceral tone of the film is really good. This film is also funny in places but more like dark comedy. The killings are brutal and the violence is the unflinching kind. If you like dark movies with great sequences and a clever plot killing them softly is your movie to go to in 2012.