Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes
Cast: Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta, Scoot McNairy, James Gandolfini
Director: Andrew Dominik

Oh boy. Some people really love this movie and some people really hate it. And if you take a look at the box office numbers, it appears many more people just didn’t give a damn and saw Skyfall instead.

Killing Them Softly poster

The film centers around two losers, Frankie and Russell, who rob a mob poker game hosted by Markie (Liotta). Markie has robbed one of his own games in the past  and pocketed the money, but he is well-liked and was forgiven. Insert Jackie (Pitt), a hitman who is called to help handle this situation. That’s all I can give you without divulging some interesting plot twists.

One thing to note is the political nature of this movie. Speeches from George W. Bush and Barack Obama are seen and heard in the background, and occasionally the camera will pan by a billboard for the 2008 presidential election. It’s important to note this movie takes place in 2008 during the financial crisis, and it serves as an emphasis to the financial crisis that hits the mob when the poker game is robbed.

Killing Them Softly is not a fast-paced ‘shoot ’em  up’ movie. It’s much, much slower than you’d think, and I would place it in the ‘slice of life’ category. Combine that with the background politics and it’s easy to see how some people would be disappointed with the movie.

If people go into this movie and accept what it gives, I think it would receive more favorable reviews. The scene where Frankie and Russell rob the mobsters is very tense and I held my breath. Can you imagine being a lowly criminal and pointing a gun at 12+ seasoned mob guys while your heroin-addicted buddy slowly collects the money?

Another great scene is when Jackie makes good on a hit. He’s in the passenger seat of a car, and the car rolls up next to the car of his victim. Jackie fires his shots and the scene goes into slow motion. The gun firing, the bullets moving in the air, the glass shattering, and the bullets hitting the body is melodic and frightening at the same time.

I enjoyed this movie once I stopped thinking about what I wanted it to be. Gandolfini gave an awesome performance as a washed-up hitman, and Richard Jenkins was a nice addition as the ‘Driver’.

Jackie nails the final scene, which I think will be a favorite among Pitt fans. I can already see James Lipton asking Brad Pitt about it on ‘Inside the Actor’s Studio’:

“America is not a country, it’s a business. Now fucking pay me.”



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