At the heart of this film we have the mob and their apparent problems—of which there seem to be many. I have no beef with the initial layout; being that Pitt is a mob hitter who solves problems Winston Wolf style when shit hits the fan. I liked the idea behind Ray Liotta’s character knocking over his own poker game—which he comes clean about later down the road and gets a pass cause he’s a cool guy—only to have other guys pick up on the idea of staging another similar robbery in hopes that everyone will think Liotta did it again. On paper that’s fine, but I can’t see the mob being stupid enough to believe he’d do that (something even Pitt’s character and the mob contact joke about). The way it all plays out feels awkward and makes the mob look incompetent and out to get one another. It felt like the last couple seasons of THE SOPRANOS where everyone turned on one another rather than conduct business and make money.
There were many a complaint about how long it takes Pitt’s character to hit the screen (which is about twenty-five minutes). I had no problem with this whatsoever. I did find the two fools who rob the poker game annoying as hell and not overly bright. But the real disappointment came from James Gandolfini’s worn out hitman character. What a depressing mess of a fool he is. And his dialogue is brutal as he goes on and on about his wife, hookers and anything else he can think to complain about. What a wasted character and even bigger waste of time.
KILLING THEM SOFTLY is dark and depressing, but not without its moments. There’s some humor here—cynical humor to be sure—as well as some solid action scenes. The gritty camera work captures the lull of gloom and doom the film emanates rather well, but the constant presidential prattling and government propaganda feels like it’s being jammed down our throats and leaves a bitter taste after a while. The plot is play by numbers, but Brad Pitt’s execution style makes it bearable as does his last scene and final line in the film.
The Making of Killing Them Softly: A short and sweet five minutes of intel about the flick and a couple words from some of the cast, but nothing the trailer doesn’t tell you, unless you want to hear the writer/director babble about capitalism.
Previews: There’s a couple trailers that play before the feature as well as a DVD and Digital Copy of the film.