Good but not great. Close but not quite. Better than most but not epic.
I like Andrew Dominik. Chopper was over hyped but interesting, Jesse James was an above average flick made great by the work of Casey Affleck. He has a unique style and makes serious, R rated dramas. Which, as far as I'm concerned, earns him extra credit from me. Serious, hard R rated movies are coming fewer and further in between. So I hope this guy does well with this and gets more opportunities.
Killing is his best work to date. The tone of the film was perfect. I loved the gangsters talking like gangsters. I've read and heard the complaints about how the film was too heavy on the conversation and too light on the killings. I loved the exchanges between the characters. To me this was better than several recent gangster flicks that failed to deliver like American Gangster and The Departed. But not up to the level of the classics like Goodfellas, Casino, and Godfather I know, that's an awful lofty standard to set. But that's the way it is when one decides to make a mob movie.
I really liked Gandolfini here, definitely his best work since the Soprano's. There is no doubt he stole the show. Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn were very good as the two bit losers who were in way over their heads. Ray Liotta was solid as well.
Which brings me to the place where I feel the film falls short of being epic. Brad Pitt is not a gangster. Brad Pitt is hip, he is cool, and he is soft. James Gandolfini is a gangster, Ray Liotta is a gangster, but Bard Pitt is not. I never bought into him in this role. And I am not a Pitt hater. He is just not a hard ass, it is so obvious he is not that it took me out of the film.
Ben Affleck would have worked here, Tim Roth could have pulled it off, Sean Penn would own this role, Josh Brolin has just the right amount of nasty, or Ben Foster would be perfect as Jackie. Anyway, point is Brad Pitt was miscast IMO. He is just not believable as a badass. This is the one thing this movie missed on. I feel if the role of Jackie was re-cast this one ranks right up there with the greats.
In the end, 8/10 and one I'll definitely give another watch in a month or two.