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Killing Them Softly Review
By Darrin Jones / November 30

Ingredients: If you liked the pacing of Burn After Reading, the characters of Casino, and the dark humor of Goodfellas, then you will like this movie.

When a couple of career crooks, Frankie and Russell (as played by Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn) rip-off a mob controlled gambling establishment, the higher ups step in to fix the situation. The mafia brings in one of its best enforces, Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt), to set everything right using any means necessary. 

This is not your typical gangster/hitman flick. There’s some obvious social messages that might put off some of the audience. The movie features long sweeping shots of impoverished neighborhoods spliced with audio clips from Presidential speeches and the plot itself is centered around crooks resorting to stealing from each other as even crime is hitting hard times. It’s all very slow and mundane. There’s no real passion or high emotions which you’d kind of expect from a gangster flick.

The movie seemed dead set on shoehorning in overt political commentary by continuously pointing out “Hey, wouldn’t it be interesting if the mob worked like the government?” Turns out, no, it’s not that interesting. The actors turn out good performances but there’s nothing there to hook the audience so the paper thin plot just drags on. Killing Them Softly comes to several dead stops for characters to spout off their pseudo-philosophies before letting the film continue again.

The action scenes focus on the unpleasantness of the situations making them very gritty. Though there are moments of dark humor they are few and far between. Mostly the film is composed of long bouts of conversation that don’t amount to anything relating to the story at hand. Brad Pitt’s performance is the one thing I can point to as a positive. His character does his job with a charismatic personality and professional demeanor that breaths a little bit of life into the film.

In the end, Killing Them Softly was boring me quickly. I’m sure the film might appeal to someone but, for the life of me, I can’t point out who. If anything I’ve described sounds right up your alley then I recommend it. Otherwise, you might want to skip out on this one.

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