Brad Pitt - Review Roundup: Killing Them Softly Underwhelms
Based on the 1974 novel 'Cogan's Trade', Killing Them Softly stars Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini and Ray Liotta. The movie is also a reunion between Brad Pitt and Andrew Dominik has both written and directed the movie. He also directed The Assassination of Jessie James by the Coward Robert Ford in 2007. Reviews for that were fairly similar to the critical reception for Killing Them Softly- the warmer side of luke warm.
Killing Them Softly is a grisly crime thriller, based around a mob poker game gone back and the subsequent investigation. The New York Times said it's "more concerned with conjuring an aura of meaningfulness than with actually meaning anything," and the Village Voice thought it repetitive and lacking subtlety, apparently it "shows, and then tells, tells, and tells again, its vibrant conjuring of contemporary cynicism felled by Dominik's lack of faith in his audience's ability to connect thematic dots." It's not all bad news though and Brad Pitt's performance has been receiving high praise. Rolling Stone said that "The acting is aces, especially Pitt mixing it up with the superb James Gandolfini, as an assassin losing his game to hooch and hookers. They make this movie a potently nasty provocation." The New Yorker agreed, focusing on a single scene they said, "One of the best things in the movie is a conversation between Pitt and Jenkins, on a torrential day, seated in a nondescript car beneath a bridge."
Dominik has made only three movies and they've all been in a similar vein, all falling under the umbrella banner of 'crime thriller', however neither The Assassination of Jesse James nor this year's Killing Them Softly seems to have met the high standards set by the 2000 movie Chopper, for which the young director won numerous awards. Chopper was created with a heavy dose of humour to offset the brutality and it's that lighthearted approach that seems to be lacking in his other two ventures. Nevertheless, it's up for release tomorrow (30th Nov 2012) and is worth seeing if only for Pitt's performance.