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Killing Them Softly Reviews

Our Review

Brad Pitt's latest won't go softly

Grant McAvaney, MovieFix
Yet another gangland film, or a cynical look at corporate America? That is the question one asks when watching the latest crime novel adaptation, Killing Them Softly.

This grey and dreary look at the low-lives of the US underworld centres around the relationship between aspiring crim Frankie (Scott McNairy) and his erratic, junkie Aussie thug acquaintance Russell (Ben Mendelsohn, replete with thick ocker accent). For reasons of naivety or stupidity, Frankie and Russell take a punt on robbing, at gunpoint, an unlawful betting ring attended by a group of nefarious high-rollers. If all goes well, the financial gain will reward the risk; either way, the gamble brings with it serious consequences. That's where Brad Pitt's contract killer, Jackie Cogan, comes in.

With Brad at his Twelve Monkeys coolest as a retributive protagonist, and an all-star cast featuring the likes of James Gandolfini and Ray Liotta, this film's flawless performances draw you into a world that is frighteningly real, and depressingly convincing.

Shying away from the typical use of funk or soul music, Killing Them Softly instead mostly opts for a gritty indie short-film vibe absent music, relying instead on an allegorical use of material from the 2008 US presidential elections as the likes of Obama, McCain and Bush speak out on the state of the US economy and going to war.

While the production strengths are original, they at times give the impression of an attempt to add a metaphorical depth to what could easily be viewed as a formulaic gangster movie.

To some extent, certain segments of the script perhaps give away too easily the purpose of the film – such as Jackie's reflection that the US is a "business" and a "myth created by Jefferson" – rather than taking a more understated approach.

Those criticisms aside, the tensely engaging world of filth presented here by Chopper director Andrew Dominik contains beauty in its darkness, and highlights certain ills that stem from a corporate mentality that takes a moral high-ground when arranging "outsiders" to do the dirty work.

While partially empty and mostly cynical, Killing Them Softly is still a solidly produced and visually enjoyable film.

View the trailer here

In pics: Muscles, make-up and moustaches - Brad Pitt's craziest on-screen transformations

Your Reviews

Saskia Cornell
Saskia Cornell
I totally disliked this movie - I think it's one of Brad Pitt's worst - the plot was really plotless.
anotherday
anotherday
Andrew Dominik's third film once again uses violent characters who don't really know themselves to darkly comic effect. As a satire it's pretty shallow, as a thriller it's only sporadically thrilling, but Dominik's films never try to fit into neat categories, and they're better for it. The end result has a clear plot (even though it managed to escape some of the other reviewers here), some beautiful visual effects, terrific performances, and quite a few grim laughs and coheres into a really entertaining film. What it means (or whether it has any meaning) is another question. Will happily buy the DVD
BorisOz
BorisOz
A pot boiler - at best. Meaningless violence is a poor substitute for a good plot- which this isn't.
sharon
sharon
went to sleep, wanted to walk out but stayed hoping it would get better, very disappointed!!!!
Tony
Tony
This has to be the worst film I have ever seen
wishbone
wishbone
worst whatever you want to call it piece of rubbish ever screened !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ted
ted
waste of 2 hours only one star because there was'ent any 1/4 star
j silvester
j silvester
this movie is solidly produced and visually enjoyable film, not good for the squeamish type..
Bruiser
Bruiser
VERY DISAPPOINTING !!! walked out after 1/2 hour.. stayed until Brad pit appeared but movie only got worse with the foul mouthed [worse than Slipper !] totally unnecessary, smut filled dialogue that was not in context, or needed to enhance a character or atmosphere or any other excuse you might try to think up for it [perhaps may be the case in other movies I've seen ... I'm not a prude].. The groans and cringing at the "expletive deletives" and sexually degradating language, was audible from the audience..I wouldn't be surprised if more people walked out after us.. .. "Killing them Softly" is not worth the effort.. Oh yeh, you can get your money back if you walk out before 20mins is up .. pity it takes nearly all of that for the adverts and shorts / trailers to finish and the actual movies begins.. Mmm might be a reason for that ??
ron
ron
too much unless dialogue. i left halfway through
ross hamilton hill
ross hamilton hill
Firstly the australian in this movie doesn't have a 'thick okker accent' his accent is standard working class aussie cleaned up so you can understand it, a real aussie junkie would be incomprehensiable to most audiences. Apart form this, the movie is a realistic crime story with the undercurrent of a disfunctial society (the U.S.) that is dominated by polical spin and social inequality. The protagonists are bottom of the barrel killers, thieves, junkies, alcoholics and prostitutes. There are no winners and no resolution, instead we get a meditation on greed, betrayal, heartlessness and stupidity. Its very realistic escept for Brad Pitt who is too handsome and intelligent to be a believable hit man. But then if you've mixed in criminal circles you would know thar real crims are so boring and moronic that they could never be made into entertaining characters.. The photography is great, the violence realistic ( makes one realize how sad real violence is). The music is cleverly ironic. Well worth seeing if you want more than the usual hollywood formula.

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