Originally Posted by hoojib127
I'd say it IS, to an extent. Let's face it -- greed and the lure of power are pretty much humanity's Achilles Heels. No matter how many history lessons one learns (Napoleon, Hitler, Idi Amin, etc.), people still keep doing purely self-serving shit at the expense of others. Power should be wielded INclusively; the moment you make it exclusive is when all the trouble starts. Why the average person still fails to see this is beyond me.
Maybe so, but I don't know if anyone in the world really has a tangible solution to that problem. Whatever the case, someone's always going to end up being more powerful than someone else, and therefore they'll probably have more influence over a greater number of people. There are some people who use their power for the greater good, but I do agree with you that there are many people who use their power to benefit an exclusive few, especially in America. However, those type of figures generally fall into the 1% of the population that is extremely wealthy or powerful, they're not representative of the bulk of America's population.
This movie just made me feel a little hopeless and empty coming out of it, and maybe that was the intention. It's not a feel-good film, it's meant to be a wake-up call, but I can't help thinking that not only was the sledge hammer message unnecessary, but it came down on the wrong people.
I don't know about audiences across the country, but there were quite a few middle age and even elderly audience members at the showing I attended. No one acted immaturely, and everyone seemed to grasp what the film was trying to say, but every person had virtually the same reaction by the end; everyone walked out saying in a sarcastic tone something akin to, "Well...that was interesting," as if no one in the theater expected, or felt they deserved 90 minutes of preaching about how hollow and shallow their country, or their species is.
After all, it's pretty safe to assume that those that thought the message of the film was necessary and warranted didn't go out and buy a homeless person a sandwich after their showing. They probably just carried on living like the rest of us, even though they were ok thinking, "Man, that movie was spot on!" That's as far as they took the supposed wake up call they had just received. Yet somehow, some of them probably find it fit to think that those who doubt the film's importance or quality are merely ignorant and naive sheep. Well, I hate to burst their bubble, but the people they mock probably didn't need the wake up call in the first place.
I think this is because the bulk of movie-going audiences across the country are made up of working class citizens; people that tend to be aware of the problems of their country because they're smack dab in the middle of them all the time. They don't need an overly simplified and heavy handed reminder about how backwards some things are today, they get that from the media, which compounds fear and anxiety into the average citizen on a daily basis. This isn't because we should be afraid to the degree the media makes us so, it's because fear sells.
As Digi exclaimed earlier about himself, I too think I've been on this planet long enough to know a thing or two about how people behave and react in certain situations. The difference is that I tend to give most people the benefit of the doubt, thinking that most people are inherently good and will make the moral choice in most situations. For example, I think that if someone gets shot and there are people around to help, they will employ common sense and wait till the scene is safe while calling emergency services, but they will come to that person's aid when it is safe enough to do so. Most people will not ignore the situation like Brad Pitt's character.
Whether or not the film was trying to generalize about the whole population of America, making a statement on people in general, or just trying to critique certain factions of society is up for debate. Although, I do think it is odd to include lines in the film like "America's a business," or "we're not one nation," if your goal was NOT to make a general statement about the population of a country. As I write this response, I am keeping myself open to the idea that the critique could extend to more general subjects like human relationships and the nature of our species, but at some point you have to stop and think how much content am I adding to this film that wasn't actually there?
Seeing as how this film had all the depth of puddle, I feel that's a fair question.
I honestly have to question the necessity of films like Killing Them Softly. They concentrate so hard on getting their message out, which doesn't really need to be heard in the first place, that they forfeit all possibility of crafting an interesting movie with more subtle political undertones. What has the film accomplished besides slamming us over the head with the message, everything is a transaction?
The characters are preachy, annoying, and mostly uninteresting, the plot is paper thin, and at 90 something minutes the movie crawls at a snails pace most of the time.
This is not to say that I'm against message movies or movies that critique society, it's just that I think not only should the movie be well rounded, (good characters, plot, etc) but that it should say something that people need to hear. Also, I tend to think that the better message movies out there end by at least suggesting a way out of despair, and not simply just reiterating what was said before or making general observations.
This is what gives depth to movies like Citizen Kane, which is not a happy film, but it ends with the character calling back to a symbol of a what really should have mattered to him in his life. It wasn't just satisfied with saying, power and wealth corrupt or make men greedy and shortsighted. If the film went that way it would have been much less interesting.
The directors and writers behind films like Killing Them Softly often overestimate how important or significant their films are, or how significant these types of films can be to the general movie going public. If you're going to beat someone over the head with your message, why not make it enjoyable or employ it in a film in which all the other elements are just as engaging and developed? Kubrick was obviously aware of this fact when he directed Dr. Strangelove, but Andrew Dominik didn't get the memo with Killing Them Softly.
As I stated before, the people who need to hear what this movie has to say about America, or relationships in general will probably never see this film. That's the problem with films like this; they have their heavy agendas and their sledge hammer tactics, but not only do they preach to the choir because the average working class citizen is usually the only type of person that see's them, but they only manage to inspire a bunch of mindless finger pointing and dead-end pseudo-philosophical ranting. It's like a person that has nothing new or interesting to say to an audience that climbs up on a soap box and spins their wheels for 90 or so minutes.
I don't want people thinking that I'm naive and ignorant of the suffering and inequality that goes on in the US or elsewhere, but I kind of think this film spends an awful lot of time bitching and moaning when it could have been much more interesting.
Like it or hate it, that's my take.