Review: ‘Killing Them Softly’ Is As Cynical As It Is Enjoyable
Well, there’s no other way to put it other than I really enjoyed it. Truth be told, it isn’t any different than any other gun-toting, mob-laced film we haven’t seen before. However, this one hit more on contemporary times in terms of look, jargon, style and aura! It may not have seemed like much at first “glance,” but Andrew Dominik's crime drama 'Killing Them Softly' packs a decent punch.
Set in a hammered America, with economic echoes via TV recession chatter, and post-Katrina New Orleans exposing a rain-soaked backdrop, the film introduces low-lives Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn as they rob Ray Liotta's mob-protected, backroom card game. It's a suicidal plan that brings forth Brad Pitt's super-bad-ass fixer, Richard Jenkins world-weary administrator and a bipolar, alcoholic James Gandolfini.
It's a terrific cast, with mucho kudos going to McNairy – pinched, whiny, totally out of his depth; Mendelsohn, who's perfected a distressing combination of pathetic and terrorizing; and a career-best Gandolfini (Since HBO’s SOPRANOS), who switches from sympathetic to disgusting between martinis. Pitt, meanwhile, plays Pitt, who in my book is one of the smoothest, laidback actors in Hollywood today. I never thought much of the guy, but considering last year’s Moneyball, The Tree of Life, and Inglourious Basterds (2009), this cat’s turning into one of my favorites.
One of my favorite lines in this film courtesy of Pitt is when sought upon and told to go on a violent rampage, almost without any kind of remorse, or feeling for his fellow man, asks: “How badly do you want him beaten?” And rest assured the outcome is pretty bloody!
Overall, even though KILLING THEM SOFTLY has its cliché dips; it displays grittiness, intensity, bitter comedic sequences, and a blunt look into a world of monetary desperation – totally worth a watch! That said, “The country is f@#ked. There’s a plague coming.” – Brad Pitt
Grade: B / Genre: Crime-Thriller, Gangster, Violence / Rated: R / Run Time: 1 Hr. 37 Min.
Cast: Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta
Director: Andrew Dominik
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