Killing Them Softly Review
November 15, 2012
My theory that no film featuring a cute dog is a bad film has failed me once again. Killing Them Softly is a one of the biggest disappointments for 2012.
Every once in a while, a trailer comes out that woos you. Everything about it works: the premise, the soundtrack and the casting, leaving the viewer certain it will be one of the greatest movies to grace cinema screens for some time. Every once in a while, these expectations don’t quite match the trailer; like a bad date or a disheartening ready meal (arguably, there is nothing more depressing than a ready meal but that’s a different story). I received the same kind of devastating disappointment from Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly; a movie I was convinced I would adore thanks to Johnny Cash’s The Man Comes Around.
Frankie (Scoot McNairy) and Russell (Ben Mendelsohn) are small time, yet optimistic, crooks who have got their sights set on bigger things. Tempted by Markie’s (Ray Liotta) secret, lucrative poker games; the former dog-napper and wannabe mobster take a rather amateurish bash at holding one of these games up at gunpoint. When word gets around, the mob send in hitman Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) to do their dirty work for them. Reluctant to take the hit himself after recognising a number of targets, he calls in Mickey (James Gandolfini) who has quite a reputation. Unimpressed with Mickey’s lazy attitude, Cogan takes matters into his own hands.
As much as I hoped to love Killing Them Softly, I certainly did not. Despite the high level of gunshot induced violence; I found it dull. The opening was incredibly promising; a pretentious title sequence much loved by indie directors. Unfortunately, it all went downhill from there. Many of the characters were incredibly unlikeable; Gandolfini’s Mickey especially who is far too preoccupied by drink and girls to do his job. Brad Pitt, unsurprisingly, was my favourite thing about Dominik’s most recent cinematic endeavour, which reunites him with the director after The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
If, like me, you were expecting something akin to the sensational Drive or even Killer Joe; you will be sadly mistaken. Boring, with an incredibly unfavourable view of women (the only female characters are prostitutes) and pointless political subtext; Dominik’s Killing Them Softly is one of the most disappointing films I’ve seen in a long time. Not even a cute dog could save this one.