Brad Pitt plays a professional killer-for-hire in this stylish story of bad guys doing bad things. More specifically, some seedy, low-level gangster types decide to rob a bunch of other gangster types during a well known, high stakes poker game. After the heist goes down, Pitt’s character is brought in to find the perpetrators of the robbery and deal the proper justice to those involved…
Killing Them Softly combines the sentiments of a criminal/mob film with some political overtones to create a parallel between the nefarious ways of the underworld along with the nefarious ways our government conducts its own operations. These sentiments are passed along through the use of devices such as radio broadcasts in a car Pitt and his cohort travel around in as well as the occasional hints in the dialog. At times this conveyance is smooth and subtle and at others, it seems a little forced when trying to make certain political statements when maybe it should be a bit less obvious.
The directing and production is well put together (Pitt is one of the producers in the film.) The film has a slick feel to it and is engaging to watch. The camera angles and long takes are reminiscent of dramas from the 70’s. The acting compliments the look and feel well, the film feels like a very cohesive effort between the director and the talent. Andrew Dominik writes and directs.
Pitt plays the lead of Jackie with confidence and is fun to watch. James Gandolfini portrays a washed up hitman in a way that makes you feel a bit sorry for him, albeit a bit crazy, and he is a killer after all, but still, he manages to drum up sympathy for his character nonetheless. Ray Liotta is fitting as the mob-guy ringleader of the aforementioned poker game. Among the other members of the cast you’ll find Richard Jenkins, Sam Shepard, Trevor Long, Max Casella, and Scott McNairy.
Killing Them Softly is worth a viewing, check it out.
reviewed by Sean McKnight