Killing Them softy is yet another effort from writer/directer Andrew Dominik, and yet another collaboration with actor Brad Pitt. The two worked together on the film The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and whilst Pitt produced and acted Dominik wrote and directed. So, naturally, the same relationship works here as well and I’m not going to lie I find it very refreshing to see. Obviously Pitt has the money and is a universally known face and name; I mean he could do hee haw with that or go out, seek new work and make more of a creative effort in his films (all the actors seem to be doing it these days – Joespeh Gorden levitt, George Cloony) and you better believe there’s probably a queue of people waiting to grab Mr. Pitt’s attention! But, as unfortuate with this business as it is, talent in the arts doesn’t mean squat if you can get Brad Pitt to sign up for a film! I mean obviously each to their own, but would you really have went to see World War Z if Brad Pitt’s name wasn’t plastered across the poster? And that in itself is a testement to Pitt – with the amount of production problems and, I’ll be honest, lousy script and standard epic thriller fare…the film did well! Made a decent bit of money and actually wasn’t half bad! So it really does prove that Pitt is a worthy advocate to have when it comes to making a film…
Anyway, what were we talking about? AH yes, the film Killing Them Softly! Here’s the trailer in order for those who have not seen it to get an idea of what the film is about…
The brief synopsis for this film is, ‘Jackie Cogan is an enforcer hired to restore order after three dumb guys rob a Mob protected card game, causing the local criminal economy to collapse.’ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1764234/
The film starts with Frankie (Scoot McNairy) talking to his friend about robbing a card game, and the brains behind moving in on this is that a man named Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta) has previously robbed the card game, even though he himself participates in the game. The robbery is soon forgotten and Trattman confesses that is was actually him after the whole situation dies down…it basically gets to the point where they are able to laugh about it and no one ends up getting beaten…that is until Frankie and chum Russell take down the same set of players, and that’s when it all kicks off again. That’s when Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) comes into the picture and tries to resolve the situation. There’s a whole lot of other stuff going on in the mix here, like Pitt’s character referring old friend, actor James Gandolfini, to take one of the “hits”… but this ends in Cogan realising he’s an alcholic and needs to be jailed in order for him to resolve his alcoholism in solitude. I’m not going to lie, the narrative takes some unnecessary detours, probably just so the promotional material for the film can promote Gandolfini as one of the film’s main starts (he isn’t) but hey ho that’s the industry we all know and love!
What this film gets by on, however, is coolness! It’s just such a cool film, I can’t deny it that. Pitt constantly oozes charm and wit and McNairy (Monsters) is the film’s highlight. The best scene in the film involves Pitt and McNairy in a bar drinking, having a chat, until McNairy’s character realises that Pitt’s been sent to kill him. The scene is all just pure tension, and although there are some other cool stuff going on (the film’s first scene involving a robbery, Markie Trattman’s execution) this is definitely worth seeing just for Pitt and McNairy’s performance alone!
If you don’t mind spoilers, here’s the scene stealing McNairy and Brad Pitt in action!!
Another scene involving actors Liotta and Pitt! Dominik constructs a beautiful execution…
It is worth noting that McNairy isn’t even mentioned in the film’s film poster and other promo material (the trailer), why? Well this is the first high profile gig McNairy has had to be honest! But god damn he shows some acting chops! He is naturally gifted when it comes to getting the audience to see the world from his point of view, we totally sympathise with him even though he has done terrible things such as robbery. He is definitely one to watch! He can be seen more recently in the critically successful 12 Years a Slave and Argo, and Internet Movie Database confirms roles with other such acting royalties as Jude Law and Michael Fassbender (Black Sea and Frank). So you can rest assured knowing McNairy will pop up in more films soon!
Lastly, Killing Them Softly is just a whole lot of fun! Even with its detours the film has so much energy and talent stuffed into the gritty crime flick that I’m sure you’ll be able to find something of worth in there somewhere. Director Dominik, manages to find humour and bleak comedy within the topics of death and corruption and can be looked at from a different perspective as a clever allegory on capitalism.
Just for fun – World War Z managed to bite the bullet and dodge many problems, however, you can’t make Glasgow’s George square look like Philly, you just cant! That was my honest comment but here’s is the film’s Honest Trailer!