Saturday, 22 September 2012

Killing Them Softly

I saw the trailer for Killing Them Softly only last week and without any advertisement whatsoever it appeared in the listings.

Killing Them Softly is based on the novel Cogan’s Trade and, as I am sure you are all wondering, I have not read it.

PLOT: After Frankie (Scoot McNairy) and Russell (Ben Mendelsohn) rob an illegal card game the mob hire Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) to take care of those at fault. END PLOT

The plot of Killing Them Softly is probably the shortest I have ever written but the story isn’t any more complex than that.  I don't mean to imply that the script is poor as this is most definitely not the case. The pace is slow and next to nothing happens but the dialogue between the characters is sharp and at times very amusing.

The reminder that America is in the midst of an economic crisis was constantly rammed down our throats with clips of Obama and Bush being played on the tv and radio in almost every scene. I think with this aspect of the film less would have been more although Brad Pitt’s closing speech about America was a cracking way to end the film.

I am not a fan of Brad Pitt but he was on great form as Jackie Cogan and will most likely receive an Oscar nomination for his efforts. The supporting cast of Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn as the two robbers were also ridiculously strong especially during the robbery scenes.

Perhaps James Gandolfini’s scenes as a washed out New York hit man ran slightly longer than necessary but other than that the cast cannot be faulted.

Killing Them Softly does have some very violent scenes with Ray Liotta’s Markie Trattman receiving one of the most graphic beatings that I have seen - I think violence in film should look, sound and feel real but even I winced.

Jackie’s soft kill was beautifully shot and the slow mo glass shattering looked gorgeous. The film may have been violent but the cinematography was stunning.

Overall the tone of the film is bleak with the mobsters feeling the credit crunch but their committee like attitude and Jackie’s jobsworth world weariness does make for some decent black comedy.

Andrew Dominik has made a brilliantly dark film which gets an 7.5/10.  If it comes your way Killing Them Softly is worth a look but it is not a film that you need to watch more than once.  The soundtrack on the other hand is already on my i-pod.


  1. I've only heard about this film, but with your review I am more interested. Was it as slow as Pitt/Dominik's last film, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford? That movie was very good and beautiful looking, but very slow. Great review as always! :)

    1. Killing Them Softly has motivated me to finally take the wrapper off Jesse James and watch it! I've had the dvd for ages but it always felt like effort

      How was The Master?

      Thanks for reading!

      K :-)

    2. Plans changed and wasnt able to see it. I might check it dyring the week, if not, next weekend.

      Assassination feels a lot like a Terence Malick film. Very meditative. Still enjoyed it.

      Always a pleasure to read your blog!

  2. Just saw the preview today but I'd heard about it. Looks and sounds like something I'd rather enjoy, I'll have to see when it comes out stateside.

    1. I didn't think it was out in America yet - I couldn't find any reviews at all even here the reviews were scarce!

      I think you would enjoy this one. It's not a classic but very enjoyable (and amusing!)

  3. I'm not a big Brad Pitt fan either. Sounds like an interesting movie. Good review.