Thursday, 6 December 2012

Killing Them Softly Review

I see what they were trying to do.  At least, I think I see what they were trying to do.  Killing Them Softly is an attempt to make a gritty movie in the criminal underworld that mixes things like Training Day, Rampart, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and even a little Ocean's Eleven in there (but humour was the last thing this movie needed).  And, they have this underlying commentary on the economy and recent crash.  All the while, they're making this grand attempt to give Brad Pitt a lot of Oscar nomination scenes.  The problem is, it tried to do too much.

While Pitt is good in it, the rest of the movie falls completely flat.  Every other actor, with the exception of James Gandolfini, is average at best (as an aside, Gandolfini's character is completely unecessary and does absolutely nothing for anything in the plot, story or anything else.  The need for his participation is a mystery.).  And most are just downright poor in their line delivery, fake accents and everything else.  The only other actor that is even recognizable as a name is Ray Liotta who is normally solid but just didn't have enough screen time to care.  As for the rest of them, I can't even be bothered to find out who they are or what they've done in the past because I just don't care if I ever see them on screen again.

There is some interesting use of sound in the film.  The intense rain pounding on a car while intense fists are pounding on Ray Liotta's face was an interesting touch that almost had me hooked (had they just stuck to that type of thing).  The choices of old time music was interesting too given the scenes they were used in.  But the problem is that they couldn't find a consistent formula to use throughout.  It's almost as if they did some filming and post-production, then went back and did some more, forgetting what they had used in the previous run.  Had they stuck to a formula, it would have held my attention much better.  Finally, there's these constant political sound bytes regarding the economy on TVs and radios in the background.  I know that they set the movie in late 2008 when the whole system fell to pieces.  This movie is a commentary on how the whole country fell apart, even the criminal underworld, because of it.  But it wasn't needed.  It was a distraction and ultimately made the movie boring.  Then they tacked on what is supposed to be an iconic Pitt line right at the end that was supposed to pull the whole thing together.  But I had just stopped caring.

Don't see it.  The only redeeming quality is Pitt and he has countless other superb performances out there that you can watch.  If you want gritty crime, there's so many better films that you've probably already seen.  A second go round with them is a better use of time than a first with Killing Them Softly.

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