Killing Them Softly
Release Date: 21st September 2012
Director: Andrew Dominik
Annapurna Pictures, 1984 Private Defense Contractors, Plan B Entertainment, Chockstone Pictures, The Weinstein Company
The economy is doing a number on us all, especially the lovely gangsters who now have to do their dirty jobs dirt cheap. Even if everything gets messy, damn!
Killing Them Softly has a political agenda and it makes sure you damn well know about it. Radio and television political talks on the economy and elections during the time when Obama was fighting for his place are prominent and tend to start and end each scene. It’s heavy-handed but does bring some depth to the rather simple tale of a hitman (Brad Pitt) going out to clear up some mess and the ultimate pay off makes it all worthwhile. The mess being two guys running off with some money from a mob based poker game. You don’t do that sort of stuff. No sir.
The film takes its time with the tale, lingering at car windows and allowing conversations to breath without any worry of the next scene growing impatient and jumping in. It makes some scenes sweat inducing on the tense scale. Action isn’t put up front and instead it focusses on discussions with washed up gangsters, job breakdown lists and hilarious gangster based banter between the two amazing leads, Franky (Scoot McNairy) and Russell (Ben Mendelsohn). These two guys work well, one trying hard, one moping through life on drugs and elaborate schemes. These losers are just the type of guys who’d you expect to be trying to jump into the business of dodgy dealing for some cash. But they are likable losers which only makes the later events a harrowing affair. When violence does come into play it is incredibly graphic and displayed in slow-mo, typically with sweet classic music to create that head crunching contrast. Nothing is done by the numbers here, it’s all put together with emphasis and importance.
Killing Them Softly is an anti-America film which won’t be for those looking for cheap thrills, but the angle and artistic weight means it should deliver to those looking for something a little smarter than From Paris With Love.