Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Killing Them Softly

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Or we can play some cards...

Killing Them Softly – 4 out of 5

Is there nothing Brad Pitt can’t do as an actor? He’s been an imaginary friend who convinces the man making him up to make a club that shouldn’t be spoken of and then tries to create a revolution from the club I’m not suppose to talk about, he’s played an ultra-cool criminal out to rob a casino, he’s been a krill, a baseball team manager, a super spy, a vampire, probably once played God I’m assuming, maybe even played a fat guy once—the point I’m making is Pitt is a tremendous actor. He keeps proving time and time again there isn’t a part he can’t play…with maybe the exception of being an unattractive man that women are incapable of finding desirable or fuckable in anyway—that he can’t play because he’s Brad “I Give Women Orgasms By Just Looking At Them” Pitt.

Women are throwing their panties at their monitors just for this still of him

"Um...forget about it?"
 Killing Them Softly sees Brad Pitt as the clean-up man; Jackie, who is hired to take out some petty criminals who bankrupt the mob. Johnny “Squirrel” Amato (Vincent Curatola) is clearly upset about his nickname and the only relief is money. He decides to hire two goons; Frankie (Scoot McNairy) and his heroin-addicted friend Russell (Ben Mendelsohn), to do a hold-up at a mob-run card game hosted by a man named Markie (Ray Liotta). After the heist, Markie is instantly suspected of the hit since he once robbed his own game years before so a middle-man for the mob (Richard Jenkins) is brought in to secure the special skills of Jackie (Pitt). Jackie sees this job getting messy so he needs extra help and calls in his friend Mickey (James Galdolfini) but when the lures of hooch (both in booze and ladies of the night form) takes Mickey out of the game Jackie is forced to deal with Markie, Frankie and Russell (really wished it was Russie just for uniformity purposes) on his own and on his own terms.

His credibility as a career criminal is just oozing off his face...or that might have to
do with the heroin.

For a crime film, Killing Them Softly doesn’t contain an elaborate heist—rather two dudes wearing pantyhose on their domes with guns in their hands robbing a poker night—and it doesn’t move at a feverish pace. The film is kinda slow but methodical in its movements that, by the time the end of the film comes around (and Brad Pitt gives a short but really awesome speech to Richard Jenkins’ character), the payoff is huge. In fact, the film is all about payoff with its pace.

Being the internet, there's probably already a fetish for being pushed around
by a guy wearing pantyhose on his head and holding a gun.

There’s not much violence in it either but when the few violent scenes appear the brutal presentation and sudden arrival of it shocks the system and makes for a delightful antithesis to the speed the film’s narrative has been delivered up to and at those points. The film is also heavy on dialogue and while these scenes of guys talking offers up some rich character development and giving hints to the characters’ histories and emotional states there is a real chance that those looking for a “boom boom, shoot ‘em dead” crime film will become bored by the seemingly lethargic pace the film takes.

"I'm going to the gun range.  Stop breaking my balls about the glasses."

His character's name is Driver and he's DRIVING!!!
Mind blown!
However, the slower story, heavy dialogue and unexpected bouts of violence made the film resonate and gave it a stronger impact when the credits come rolling by. Not to mention the movie does an incredible job of paralleling the financial crisis the mob takes from this hit on the card game by setting the film in the fall of 2008, at the height of our country’s own financial crisis, and it’s constantly playing clips of Barack Obama, George “Dubya” Bush and other government officials discussing the fall of our country’s financial state. This helps make the move to hire the character of Jackie seem more of a required action and not just a petty revenge scheme as Frankie, Russell and Squirrel’s action have left them in dire straits. There’s even a scene where Driver (Richard Jenkins) first meets with Jackie and there’s a sound byte of Dubya on the radio saying that if there’s not immediate action our economy won’t recover—basically the film is literally telling the audience that the mob’s economic state is crashing and Jackie is the immediate action they need to return to their criminal glory.

"I'm the hero the mob needs..."

At its forefront, Killing Them Softly is a character driven crime film with tremendous acting and storytelling that's precise and meticulous. While the film does move slowly at points and can be heavy on scenes of dudes just talking and not shooting each other in the face the payoff it gives when dudes really do get shot in the face and, adding with it, some great camera work and scene construction (one of Jackie’s hit is a pretty awesome spectacle to witness) really makes the film work and made it very entertaining.

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