Killing Them Softly
Director: Andrew Dominik
Writer: Andrew Dominik
Starring: Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini
Plot: After a group of local thugs robs a mob run poker game, they call in an enforcer to to hunt the men down.
So what did you think?
Adam – An average mob enforcer film that at times rises a bit above the level of mediocrity. Unfortunately, viewers are going to have a hard time caring about any of the characters in the film.
Scotty - This was a mess of a movie and I found it hard to watch, I wanted to stop watching it several times as it was poorly done and unnecessary film making.
Griff – This is a film that tries hard to rise above mediocrity but falls flat on its face. You can see traces of someone trying to emulate Scorsese. You see bits of Mean Streets and Goodfellas but none of it adds up to a strong movie.
Any thoughts before you saw the movie?
Adam – Brad Pitt is starring as a mob enforcer blasting people with a shotgun. Well it’s got to be better than his Chanel number 5 ads so why not give it a watch.
Scotty – I was interested in seeing Brad Pitt in a movie it seemed to me it has been a while, I also thought there may be some good gangster style dialogue.
Griff – It looked promising. I thought this was going to be an interesting role for Pitt and there was a strong supporting cast.
Did you think this movie was fresh and/or innovative?
Adam – No, This looks like a mish mash of 20 other mob films that I have seen. Hell it even has many of the same actors you have seen in other films pretty much reprising their roles in past films. I’m looking at you Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini, and Vincent Curatola.
Scotty - No I think this is a retread of 50 other movies.
Griff – It’s really just a homage to some better films that came before it. Imitation isn’t always a bad thing. Other directors have made a career out of it, but, you have to bring something new to the table.
Did you think the script was well written?
Adam – While I was a big fan of Andrew Dominik and Brad Pitt’s last collaboration, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, this film fails to reach its lofty goals. Instead of breaking any new ground this script just rehashes a bunch of familiar themes, throws in some Tarantino type dialogue and tenuous links to modern events. The result is an adequate but utterly forgettable mob film.
Scotty – No, I thought the script was the weakest part of the film, it felt like it was created in a bar one night. What was Gandolfini doing in the film, I feel like they wrote his part in after they realized that they only had a 10 minute movie.
Griff - This is where things really fall apart. The movie breaks down into a series of vignettes that come together a little too awkwardly. The movie doesn’t seem to flow correctly and the only character that seems to be fully developed (Gandolfini) has no real purpose in the film.
Was there a performance you really liked or really hated?
Adam – Pitt was decent considering what he had to work with. However, the only actor that really stood out for me was the performance of Richard Jenkins as the go between guy between Pitt and the mob bosses.
Scotty – I hated Gandolfini in this role, it was worthless and useless and added nothing but a few lines of decent dialogue.
Griff - I thought that Gandolfini scenes were great. I just wish that is would have went somewhere.
Do you remember a song from the film?
Adam – The Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash, if only the film was as well done as this song.
Scotty - I remember the song Heroin by the Velvet Underground, in other shocking news it was played when they were on heroin.
Griff - The Man Comes Around – James Wilsey
What was your favorite line?
Adam – “America’s not a country. It’s a business.” -Jackie
Scotty – Sadly there were so few but I think this one was the best:
“My friend, Thomas Jefferson is an American saint because he wrote the words ‘All men are created equal’, words he clearly didn’t believe since he allowed his own children to live in slavery. He’s a rich white snob who’s sick of paying taxes to the Brits. So, yeah, he writes some lovely words and aroused the rabble and they went and died for those words while he sat back and drank his wine and fucked his slave girl. This guy wants to tell me we’re living in a community? Don’t make me laugh. I’m living in America, and in America you’re on your own. America’s not a country. It’s just a business. Now fuckin’ pay me.”
Griff – “Now Pay Me” – Because I am sure that is what Pitt said to Andrew Dominik after this farce.
What would have made this a better movie?
Adam - I like a film that strikes its audience on an intellectual level. Hell I might even be considered a bit of a highbrow snob in some respects. What I don’t like is a film that turns out to be half as clever as it thinks it is. Sadly this is the case with Killing Them Softly.
Scotty – I do not know if you can save this film, it was messy from start to finish. I would say some character development on characters you care about would be a good start. You know nothing about the most important people in the film.
Griff - Way too much Jibber Jabber for a movie of this type. Stop trying to feed me a shit sandwich and telling me it’s roast beef. KTS tries to be a thinking man’s mobster movie and it comes out looking hackneyed and shallow. Also for some reason it throws in some crazy matrix style action sequences that feel completely out of place in the movie. This stuff should have been left on the cutting room floor.
Is it worth seeing in the theater? Or could you have waited for the DVD/Stream?
Adam - I don’t see any reason to run out and see this at the theater.
Scotty – Nooooo.
Griff – This one can safely be skipped.
What other movies would you recommend if someone enjoyed this film?
Adam – You should check out A History of Violence and Boondock Saints if you want to see some cool lesser known Mob films.
Scotty – Snatch and Goodfellas come to mind, both superior movies by far.
Griff - Mean Streets, and here comes some oldies… Angels with Dirty Faces (1938), Petrified Forest (1936), and Key Largo (1948)…All of them much better gangster flicks.
Any final thoughts on this movie?
Adam – I had a disappointing trip to the movies to watch this film. I felt pretty let down after being pretty pumped up to see this for several months. The only positive might be that it has tempered my expectations to watch Pitt in the upcoming World War Z.
Scotty – I was so uninterested in this movie within 15 minutes, I was hoping it would end. Maybe because I have been watching such quality films as of late this film fell behind and could not keep my attention. I really think this film was written in 15 minutes in a bar one night, it lacked anything whole and besides a couple of bad ass scenes it was a boring movie. Mr. Pitt has me in a tail spin right now, I like him as an actor and the last 2 things I have seen from him were weak to say the least, those things being the Chanel Ad and Killing Them Softly. Do not waste your time on this one.
Griff - KTS is mess of a film. It tries to blend modern CGI with some 1970’s style dialogue heavy drama and the results are not good. I appreciate what Andrew Dominik was trying to do with this movie but unfortunately it just misses the mark.