Andrew's Review of Killing Them Softly
Killing Them Softly(2012)
Always wanted to see this film from the moment I saw the trailer. Unfortunately it crashed and burned at the box office and after two weeks it was taken out of the cinema. I finally saw it and can say KILLING THEM SOFTLY is one of the most stylish, original crime films I've seen in some time. Brad Pitt continues his streak of excellent films here in his role as Jackie Cogan, en enforcer for the Mob. Pitt is too cool and the dude just has a swagger one can't deny; he truly is one of our great movie stars. James Gandolfini has what's essentially a glorified cameo here as Mickey, a hitman who has lost his touch to booze and hookers. Gandolfini's two extended scenes are magnificent and his performance is a scene-stealer. Richard Jenkins is also great as the Middle Man between Cogan and the Mob.
The plot is almost too simple; it could have been an episode of THE SOPRANOS: two lowlife hoods are hired to knock off a high-stakes card game run by the Mob, causing the local criminal economy to collapse. Brad Pitt's Jackie Cogan is sent in to re-establish order. Killing ensues. The film is gritty and has no problem depicting these people for who they are: the lowest of the low. These scum make the wiseguys in GOODFELLAS look like honorable men. This is very much a dialogue-driven piece, which will turn viewers off if they're expecting an action film. The violence is sparse, but when it hits, it's brutal. One of the characters takes a beating that has to rank as one of the most graphic ever depicted on film.
Director Andrew Dominick has crafted a stylish neo-noir crime film that is unlike any other film about the Mob I've just about ever seen. I loved the camera work, the music, the performances, the feel of the film. And while the references to the 2008 Presidential Election (which is when the film takes place) do feel sometimes forced, it is for a good purpose. Essentially the Mob in this piece are a microcosm of the US government, dealing with a financial crisis by throwing more money at it, and then hesitating to punish those responsible, thanks to a bureaucracy that won't allow the hard decisions to be made. KILLING THEM SOFTLY is a great piece of cinema, and I hope it gains a cult following as time goes by.