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Movie rating system (0-2) The movie is balls (2-4) A few moments but mostly bad (4-5.5) Entertaining film but lacking something to make it good. (6-7.5) A recommendation meaning a good solid watch. (8-10) must watch films, they are usually leaders in their respective genre. I can also be found on Facebook or follow my blog at the bottom of this page. THERE MAY BE MINI SPOILERS AHEAD!!! But there will be no endings/twists/cameos/or large plot reveals given.

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Monday, 1 April 2013

Killing Them Softly

Killing Them Softly
Rated: R
Running Time: 97 minutes
Starring: Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta
Directed By: Andrew Dominik
Rating: 3 out of 10
A hit man must track down some thieves who have knocked over a mob run poker game.

Find a dark closet, get in and close the door. Find any device that will play music and look up the group The Fugees. Find the track, Killing Me Softly, put it on repeat and listen to the song for two straight hours. I guarantee that will be a better time than watching this movie. Killing Them Softly is the story about a couple of amateur thieves that rob a mob run poker game. The mob hires a hit man to find the robbers, and to teach them a lesson that no crime will go unpunished.

This film bit off way more than it could chew and it comes off as mostly disorganized. It tries to be a Guy Ritchie gangster film, but lacks the style and grace. It tries to be a Quinton Tarantino film, but the dialogue is spotty and uneventful. It tries to be like the movie Drive, but the violence is too tame and too long in the making. The film starts off and we are introduced to the two amateur thief’s (Frankie and Russell) planning to knock off the card game. Their strung out and nonsensical banter is coupled nicely with their sweaty visages. It works for a time but most viewers will quickly tire of it. The viewer is then treated to a history of the mob run poker game and some of the characters involved, but most viewers will quickly tire of it. It doesn’t seem to matter what character, what discussion, or what setting they are showing in this, as it all comes across as dull. So, after a weak opening act where characters discuss everything from sex with prostitutes to the appropriateness of rubber gloves for a robbery, one would hope that the film gets better. I am here to tell you, it doesn’t. With big robberies come big retributions. So when the mobs hired gun Jackie gets on the screen, is the viewer treated with revenge and a trail of blood? Well, sort of, but in small unsatisfying bursts. Bones are broken and questions are asked to try and track down the mobs stolen poker money, but the viewer will quickly tire of it.

I can only classify the acting as effective. With a cast of veterans, this film does not lack in proficiency but does lack in quality characters. Frankie and Russell are played by Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn, and they are solid leads. They are no Guy Ritchie leads but they are capable portrayers of low life criminals/junkies. There is actor Ray Liotta playing mob guy, Markie Trattman. Liotta goes old school and shows he hasn’t lost his touch in playing a wise guy but has limited screen time. Actor Richard Jenkins plays the mob middleman and he is okay but underutilized in this. There is a broken and alcoholic hit man named Mickey who is played by James Gandolfini. His performance is good but his appearance in the film is puzzling. He drinks and whores, drinks and complains, and drinks and does drugs. All of these things are going on with the character, but he offers nothing positive to the film. Lastly, there is the hired hit man Jackie played by Brad Pitt. I love Brad Pitt and I think he is a fantastic actor, but this was not the role for him. He is adequate as this sociopathic character but he just seemed off in this. Without Pitt’s expected excellence, this film lacks entertainment at all the crucial moments.

I am sure some film student will tell me all the ways that this movie rocked, but I just don’t see it. I didn’t like the bleakness of the city. I didn’t like the characters extended small talk with each other about basically bullshit. I didn’t like the action (except for a slow motion car crash scene). Lastly, I didn’t like how the film played out with Jackie trying to track down the amateurs. Instead of a long detailed story of how Jackie left a swath of blood across the city, he discovers their identity through chance. By the time this film ends, it will just leave a bad taste in the viewers mouth, and just an overall feeling of incompleteness. In conclusion, the film seems to aim big and it misses big. It is too drawn out and weary with little to alleviate that feeling. The action (what little there is) is violent and fits well with the story but little else is right. (The DVD cover is pretty bad ass though.)

I am pretty sure that Director Andrew Dominik has a pretty fervent following but I am just not one of them. His style is always dark with pithy dialogue and this is no different. He has a film bred for violence and he just never pulls the trigger in the right spots. His camera work is above average and the long conversations show that he loves his characters, but his focus should be that his audiences love his characters too. He takes a great cast and delivers a film that misses as a drama, action, crime, and mafia movie.

I cannot recommend this film as it will be killing you with its slow pace.

T Factor + If you like dialogue driven films then this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you expect a lot from Brad Pitt when he is in a movie then this could score lower on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: RocknRolla, Snatch.

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