Sunday, December 9, 2012

Killing Them Softly

Plot: Frankie (Scoot McNairy) and Russell (Ben Mendelsohn) rob a mob gambling house, and the mob bosses call in Jackie, an enforcer (Brad Pitt,) to kill the robbers. Jackie calls in NY killer Mickey (James Gandolfini) to help. The robbers get panicked, and people get shot. The movie is intercut with political speeches about the 2008 economic collapse and the election of 2008.  [imdb]    [photos]

Review: Killing Them Softly is a gritty movie about the criminal underclass.  It is advertised as a dark comedy, but it is actually a tragedy with some political sarcasm. The point being that American government is concerned with money and is a business -- just like running crime mob. Director Andrew Dominik was trying to say the political criminals and street criminals were the same, but in the action he showed they were different. 

While I did like the movie's political theme, it made me think about a book I am reading (The Better Angels of our Nature by Steven Pinker), about crime and how government control keeps people safe. In parts of the society without government control and do-it-yourself justice lots of people suffer and die. 

The title Killing Me Softly is supposed to mean Jackie kills people with a minimum of suffering. He shoots people repeatedly to make sure they die quickly, and he shoots from a distance. Are we supposed to admire that? 

The killing scenes were slow motion and artsy with a spray of flowy blood droplets in the air. There is some artistic photography of gritty street scenes too. 

The acting was strong, especially James Gandolfini, who was fun-to-watch as he drank and drank -- an unlikely highlight of the movie. 

I did not care for Killing Me Softly much like Flight, it is about gritty druggy street life with unlikeable people. 

Cast: Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Ben Mendelsohn, Scoot McNairy

Directed by: Andrew Dominik

Rating: 2.0 stars: Not recommended, but with some strong parts.

More: The soundtrack is an interesting collection of tracks from various artists. Highlights were Moon Dance by Carl Stone and Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams by Nico, and I Think this Town is Nervous by The Wreckery.