Saturday 13 October 2012

Killing Them Softly [2012]

Killing Them Softly, Andrew Dominik’s fine follow-up to the outstanding Western The Assassination of Jesse James…, is a compelling and grimy crime drama, and, in turn, a powerful indictment on American politics and economy. The once mythical American Dream is crumbling, and the repercussions of this seemingly irreversible downslide are felt even by mobsters and hired killers. Brad Pitt, in another of his fine star turns, has played the role of Jackie Cogan, a professional enforcer, who has been given the dirty task of unraveling the robbing of a poker joint. Markie (Ray Liotta), the manager of that joint, and who had once robbed it successfully, becomes the easy fall guy despite being innocent. However, it soon becomes apparent that two young guys were actually behind the audacious deal – and thereon, it becomes a matter of eliminating the mastermind behind the job. Pitt exuded both urban cool and a strongly palpable sense of world-weariness, and a highly notable cameo was put in by Liotta too. The best performance, however, came from James Gandolfini as Mickey, a once sought after hitman, but now a loquacious, jittery, unreliable and washed-out man somehow still out of prison, and his veering conversations with Cogan (reminiscent of Pulp Fiction) provided some of the most memorable moments of this slow-burning character study and darkly funny political satire. Though a few scenes came out as tad gimmicky and the director’s political stand was clearly to the right of the fence, the end product was an astutely directed and brilliantly written end product filled with caustic sociopolitical commentaries - made more so by Obama's drone-like voice perennially filling the background.

Director: Andrew Dominik
Genre: Drama/Crime Drama/Gangster Film/Political Drama
Language: English
Country: US


Samuel Wilson said...

I envy you seeing this eagerly anticipated film ahead of its US release. I read the George V. Higgins novel Cogan's Trade upon which this is based earlier this year and the resemblance to Tarantino's writing is very strong, though Higgins was writing 20 years ahead of Pulp Fiction. I don't know how many films have been based on Higgins novels, but Peter Yates's Friends of Eddie Coyle sets a high standard for this new picture. Thanks for the advance word.

Shubhajit said...

Oh, I wasn't aware that the movie released in India before it did in the US - now that's a surprise if ever there was one. Well, I haven't read the novel by Higgins that this film is based on, but I've heard that Dominik made a number of changes to it (like transplanting the story from Boston to New Orleans in order to make the political commentary more potent, or shifting the story to more recent times, among others). But yes, the film has made me interested in looking up the novel, which I presume I will sometime sooner or later. Thanks Samuel for stopping by. I'd be eager to read your views on it once you get to watch it.

Joel Bocko said...

Hadn't heard a thing about this movie till I found this review. I love the poster and am intrigued by the notion of a right-wing political thriller which I feel like we don't see very often. Obama's incorporated in here somehow? It's not a period piece? Weird. Great cast, and Friends of Eddie Coyle is excellent so I'll look for this.

Sam Juliano said...

Nice work here Shubhajit! Like the others I am patiently or rather impatiently awaiting it's US release! I've read a lot of about it, and am thrilled that it gets high marks from you!

Obama/Biden 2012


Shubhajit said...


Well, I didn't find the politics in the film overtly right-wing, but yes, its allegiance does lie on the right (this ought to make the Republican candidate happy). And yes, Obama, or rather his countless interviews & speeches before he got elected, formed a near incessant background & backdrop for the storyline. And no, its not a period piece - at least not in the sense one refers to that phrase.

Shubhajit said...


I still can fathom how the film (an American film at that), released in India a good few weeks before its scheduled release date in US. Hope you get to see it soon.