Saturday, December 1, 2012

Killing them Softly

Movie Name: Killing them Softly
Year of Release: 2012
Director: Andrew Dominik
Stars: Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta, Vincent Curatola, Trevor Long, Max Casella, Slaine, Sam Shepard
Genre: Drama, Crime, Suspense
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

The pairing of director Andrew Dominik and Brad Pitt, has produced another great film, following the underrated "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford". If their first film together was an atmospheric exploration of the western genre, "Killing them Softly" is a vastly superior film, one that blends social commentary and the film noir genre to make something that is aesthetically superb and unlike anything else. The film follows the story of Jackie Coogan who is a hired hitman, a cleaner who takes care of tangled messes in the underground world. Jackie has to deal with two amateurish criminals, who robbed one of the underground gaming events that were taking place in New Orleans. Jackie knows how to navigate the murky waters, but is having to deal with the new constraints of an economy that is in recession, which also affects his own line of work.
Director Andrew Dominik is a director who allows the words and the interactions between his actors to drive the action. This interplay between the actors allows them to populate these characters with more than just an archetype. In "Killing them Softly", it's all about understanding how the fine details of the structure of the criminal underground work, particularly in the new waters brought on by the economic recession. The film is populated by the speeches of politicians in the background, words echoing of hope, when what the film presents in the front, is bleak, cold and mercenary-like. The bursts of violence that occur, are almost grandiose and filled with a beauty that hasn't been seen in films of this genre or nature. The acting is uniformly good, but Brad Pitt is fantastic, building a character who is detached, cold, cynical and intelligent, aware of his surroundings and where his life is headed. It's another great creation for an actor who has done nothing but great films lately. A great film not to be missed.