‘Killing Them Softly’ bombs on merit; ‘Red Dawn’ remake not much better
While one admires Brad Pitt for his desire to make small, independent movies, his taste in said endeavors has often been bad. A prime example is his latest film, Killing Them Softly, an awful drama that pretends it is a mob action movie when in fact it is a boring, meaningless talk-a-thon.
Writer-director Andrew Dominik would have faded away after his title-challenged western, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, except that he has an influential friend in his corner, Pitt. That explains why he has made another movie that is currently dropping like a stone never to be seen again. Actually I wish that was true, but in a few months when it is released on DVD, people will see the impressive cast list on the box (Pitt, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins, Sam Shepard) and rent it out of curiosity. They will be sorry.
Killing Them Softly certainly sounds like a mob movie. A trio of truly stupid criminals, played by Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn and Vincent Curatola, decide to rob a mob-sponsored card game. They figure they are safe because the guy running the game, Markie Trattman (Liotta), robbed it himself a few months earlier and eventually got away with just a warning.
Gee, that sounds plausible doesn’t it?
Now these idiots figure that when they rob the game, Markie will be blamed and they will get away with it.
This is where Pitt comes in. He is the fixer, Jackie, hired to find and kill the robbers. Instead of us seeing how he does find them, we mostly see Pitt sitting around in a car or a bar talking with Jenkins, listed in the credits as “The Driver.” He talks about his philosophy of life and in a particularly rancid scene, trashes America as the place where there is no real sense of community. Instead, says Jackie, “You are on your own.”
The film also provides annoying background noise that is supposed to illuminate this tale of mob economics set in 2008. In what seems like every scene, a TV is set to the news and the talk is about how the nation’s economy is getting worse with no end in sight. Apparently, the poor mobsters are feeling the pinch as well.
If you still want to see this movie, I have obviously not done my job. Killing Them Softly has jumped to the top of my list of worst movies of 2012.
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