Killing Them Softly

Killing Them Softly

(Andrew Dominik, 2012)

Rating: 4/5

Reviewed by Dave Lancaster

Summary
: Owing plenty to America's harsh 70s cinema, 'Killing Them Softly' is the grittiest credit-crunch thriller around.




'Killing Them Softly' feels about 40 years old, right at place alongside brutal crime thrillers of the 70s like 'The Friends of Eddie Coyle', 'Taxi Driver', 'The French Connection' and 'Serpico'. If 'Drive' was this generation's ultimate 80s throwback, 'Killing Them Softly' is in the running for the 70s granite and leather crown. And that's no bad thing.

It doesn't reveal itself to the audience easily though, thanks to a sledgehammer delivery of political commentary on the 2008 US election that runs alongside the film, somewhat jerkily.

But let's start at the beginning. Here's the plot: Well-liked mobster Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta) organises the robbery of his own card game and gets away with it. When the dust settles in post-hurricane, mid-credit crunch New Orleans, he admits it was him, but is given a pass - no harm no foul. Johnny Amato (Vincent Curatola) gets onto the wise idea to rob his next poker game and everyone will think Markie did it again, so he recruits two losers (Ben Mendelsohn & Scott McNairy) to do the deed. Cue one of cinema's most tense heists.



Now enter Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt). He's above all this. He's been hired by a middle man (Richard Jenkins) from the cash-strapped local mob who are incapable of making decisions thanks to their ineffectual, penny-pinching business model. Cogan has to tie up loose ends and isn't helped by a fellow hitman (an Oscar worthy supporting turn from James Gandolfini) who has fallen from grace, hitting booze and women with ease but falling short of his paid-for targets by a mile.

As is typical with the mob sub-genre, the plot takes its twists and turns which director Andrew Dominik (who previously guided Pitt in 'The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford') hands well, making each character feel both human and also dangerously expendable.

Dominik's style is staggering. A heroin trip and a beating scene are unforgettable, as his cocktail of musical styles that include rough, bleak country (Johnny Cash's 'The Man Comes Around') and jazz vocal dance hall standards ('(It's Only A) Paper Moon'). At the forefront is Pitt, who puts in a remarkable performance that plays to his strength and adds new range to his CV (can this really be the same guy who was in 'Inglourious Basterds', 'The Tree of Life' and 'Moneyball' within the space of two years?).

After its 90 minutes whiz by 'Killing Them Softly' doesn't feel as epic or majestic as 'Jesse James' did. Instead it arrives and departs like a blunt trauma to the back of the head - it'll either shock you into a reaction or leave you out cold.

The fantastic theatrical trailer for 'Killing Them Softly' is HERE at Cinemas Online.

Other film news

Paul Walker's brothers drafted in fill 'small gaps' in 'Fast & Furious 7'

After actor Paul Walker's sudden death halted production on 'Fast & Furious 7', the wheels are back in motion and the late star's lookalike brothers have been brought in to help out in some shots.

'Transformers: Age of Extinction' to start new trilogy

Many critics begged director Michael Bay to stop after the first one, but the audiences disagreed and helped make the 'Transformers' trilogy one of the film industry's most profitable. And now it's been revealed that the fourth film 'Transformers: Age of Extinction' is actually the first of a new trilogy.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire tops honours at MTV Movie Awards

The stars were out in force for the MTV Movie Awards who all watched Johnny Depp reveal that the Movie of the Year award was bestowed 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'.

Sean Penn to direct partner Charlize Theron in Africa-set romantic thriller

Oscar winning trio Sean Penn, Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem are joining forces to shoot a new film in Africa.

Major Hollywood studios join forces to sue Megaupload

Six of the leading Hollywood film studios have shown a rare moment of unity by banding together to sue filesharing site Megaupload and its key staff, including its founder Kim Dotcom.

Mickey Rooney dies aged 93

Mickey Rooney, the short in stature but huge in terms of range comic actor, has died aged 93.

Kevin Spacey set to play Winston Churchill

Double Oscar winner Kevin Spacey is set to play Winston Churchill in 'Captain of the Gate', a forthcoming biopic that will focus on Churchill's rise to power in 1940.

'Fast and Furious 7' to use CGI and doubles to work around Paul Walker's death

When Paul Walker died in a road traffic accident in Los Angeles on November 30th, the status of 'Fast and Furious 7' (which had already began shooting) was thrown into turmoil.

Acclaimed character actor James Rebhorn of 'Independence Day' and TV's 'Homeland' dead at 65

James Rebhorn, the beloved character actor who played alongside some of the screen's giants such as Al Pacino, Michael Douglas and Robert De Niro, has died aged 65.

Gollum star Andy Serkis to direct The Jungle Book for Warner Brothers

Andy Serkis, best known for his work as a motion capture actor (or indeed THE motion capture actor) thanks to his work on the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy, 'King Kong', 'The Adventures of Tintin' and 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes', is set to direct a remake of 'The Jungle Book' over at Warner Brothers pictures.

Guy Pearce to play Johnny Depp's brother in 'Black Mass'

'Memento' and 'Iron Man 3' star Guy Pearce is set to star alongside Johnny Depp in forthcoming mob thriller 'Black Mass', Variety has reported.

Legendary film trailer voiceover king Hal Douglas dead at 89

You may not know the name, but you've almost certainly heard his voice. Hal Douglas, the prolific voiceover master, has died aged 89.

US President Barack Obama teams up with 'Hangover' star Zach Galifianakis for viral short

The President of the United States took a detour from his official duties to try his hand at viral short films with 'Hangover' star Zach Galifianakis.

Russell Crowe biblical epic 'Noah' banned in three Arab countries

'Noah', the forthcoming biblical film from 'Black Swan' director Darren Aronofsky with Russell Crowe in the lead role as the ark-building saviour, has been banned in three Arab countries for "violating Islamic Law".

'Captain Phillips' Oscar nominee Barkhad Abdi struggling to make ends meet

Despite an Oscar nomination (and a BAFTA win) for his breakout supporting role in box office hit 'Captain Phillips', limo driver turned film star Barkhad Abdi is financially struggling.

2014 Oscars: Full winners list, highlights, snubs, surprises and that Twitter picture

Space thriller 'Gravity' was the big winner of the Oscars, storming the board and taking home seven wins out of its 10 nominations, including Best Director, but Steve McQueen's slave drama '12 Years A Slave' swooped in at the last minute to win the big one - Best Picture.

Gregg Allman biopic 'Midnight Rider' shuts down production after crew death

'Midnight Rider' - the forthcoming biopic about Allman Brothers guitarist Gregg Allman - has ceased filming after a train incident last week left one of the crew dead and several injured.

TV's 'Girls' star Adam Driver set for villain role in new 'Star Wars'

Adam Driver, best known for his work on Lena Dunham's TV dramedy series 'Girls', has reportedly been cast as the lead villain in the upcoming 'Star Wars' film.

Co-stars Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd lead tributes to fellow Ghostbuster Harold Ramis

Writer, director and actor Harold Ramis has died aged 69 as a result of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis - a disease that causes blood vessels to swell.

'Fantastic Four' reboot reveals its core cast

Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Bell have been cast in the lead roles of the upcoming 'Fantastic Four' reboot.

Find Your Cinema

Cinemas Online supply showtimes for every cinema in the UK. To find out what's playing near you and to register for weekly showtimes updates from your local cinema, just enter your postcode:

Advertisement : content continues below
Advertisement : content continues below
Advertisement

| Privacy Policy | Contact Cinemas Online