Killing Them Softly (2012)
Director: Andrew Dominik
Writers: Andrew Dominik (screenplay), George V. Higgins (novel)
Stars: Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta and Richard Jenkins
There is something both beautiful and terrible about this film. It shows violence in both beautiful and awful ways, sometimes at the same instance, such that you end up both wanting to look but cringing at the scene at the same time. It is a split-second reaction of awe and disgust which gives this film it’s cred. You have the high profile actors, the well plotted storyline and the brilliant and non-Hollywood-style director, but it isn’t a film I would recommend for non-film-buff friends.
I’m going to be a little negative about the film now, but hear me first say that this is a good film, well crafted and executed, with many positives.
I had spoken to one of my film critic friends about the movie before going to see it and he mentioned that he thought that the violence wasn’t glorified like it is in some Hollywood blockbusters. I think he is both right and wrong here. There are a lot of slow motion moments in the film and moments where lighting and effects are used to replicate a drug-induced haze, which is fine and clever, but it makes the whole world they live in a bit of a fairy-tale. It brings the awfulness of drugs to the forefront and makes the violence look pretty and controlled. The chaos comes through the drugs but the clarity comes through the violence, which isn’t the best message to be sending out into the minds of people.
Then there is the background noise of the economic downturn in America with constant chatter of televisions and radios broadcasting Bush and Obama’s political speeches surrounding economic issues. To be honest it could have been a little less obnoxious. It becomes such loud background noise that it gets in your face at times and I found it to be a little punishing on the narrative and action of the film. I know they were trying to make a statement about how the economy falling effected everyone, but it wasn’t done in a way they made it seamless with the film, it stood out too obviously. There were moments in the film which I really enjoyed but then they would be ruined by some TV or radio chatter of Obama or Bush talking about how awful the economy in the US was doing and how strong the American people were. It was irritating.
There are three things worth seeing this film for:
1. Brad Pitt, of course;
2. The shooting/car scene with Pitt and Liotta, it is incredible and extremely impressive;
3. The humour in this film is minimalistic and giggle-out-loud, it’s very understated but is also hilarious.