Killing Them Softly Review

Posted 4 years ago by myetvmedia

Killing Them Softly isn’t the fun gangster film we’ve come to expect from the likes of Guy Ritchie and Steven Soderbergh. Director Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James) also wrote the screenplay based on George V. Higgins’ 1974 novel Cogan’s Trade. Killing Them Softly presents a grim and gritty reality that belies the trailers that to my mind are attempting to bring that fun and not so serious crowd in.

Flawed, like-able characters are often what warms us to the crime genre however, there are no such antiheroes in Killing Them Softly. These characters are distinctly unlike the alternative crime character that we find inCarlito’s Way (Brian de Palma) for example. There we could relate toPacino’s ‘Carlito’ who was just trying to get out and reconnect with an old flame.  He wanted a better life for himself away from the world of crime; we wanted him to succeed, we cared. Killing Them Softly’s characters are completely different. The characters are a group of cold, calculating villains. Almost every character is making a victim of another and the film is dominated by a male cast so there isn’t any kind of sexy love story. The cast includes Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, Vincent Curatola, Max Casella, Trevor Long, Slaine and Sam Shepard.

When it comes down to it friendship as well, in really isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. A couple of crooks rip off a card game at the expense of a favorite in the mob community. The handler for this criminal syndicate: a crooked lawyer brings in Brad Pitt (Jackie Cogan)Pitt plays a no nonsense enforcer to clean up the messy situation and save face. Against the backdrop of the McCain-Obama election the story plays out and seems the perfect example of an extremist capitalist mentality. Business ends badly for all involved, even the guy that everybody likes.

Violence in the film doesn’t sound quite so extreme on paper: fisticuffs, shotgun blasts, shootings… stuff we have seen a million times. However, inKilling Them Softly it’s the gritty reality, omitting any Hollywoodglorification that makes the kills so hard to watch.

The scattered moments of human sensitivity that we see are at the graces of veterans like Ray Liotta and James Gandolfini. Their performances present a world where anything but a business mindset will get you popped. Anyone falling prey to emphatic feeling should be quick to fix it with brutal efficiency.


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Killing Them Softly Review

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Killing Them Softly

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