Thursday, December 27, 2012

Man on Film: Killing Them Softly

Killing Them Softly seemed to have all the ingredients for a great film. Starting with the writer/director of Chopper and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and adding a stellar cast featuring Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Richard B. Jenkins, Ray Liotta, and the criminally underrated Ben Mendelsohn should have meant Killing Them Softly would be damn near spectacular.

Instead, it was wrought with a heavy-handed approach and included a theme whose connectivity was strained at best, presumably losing a chunk of its pertinence in the hour that was reportedly cut from the first cut of the film. If you want an example of its hamfisted direction, look no further than Dominik's choice to have a heroin-shooting scene take place with the instrumental intro to The Velvet Underground's "Heroin" playing. Killing Them Softly also decided to employ audio from speeches occurring right around the 2008 election (when the film is set) regarding the mortgage crisis and ensuing market crash to drive home a point about how the robbery that set off everything collapsed the local criminal underworld financially, but the execution of this point is both crude and ineffective. Dominik gets points for trying, but these efforts come up short, much like most of the film does.

It is all really a shame because it feels like there was a great movie somewhere in there, but Dominik got lost along the way.

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