Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Killing Them Softly - Movie Review

Killing Them Softly is a movie adapted from a novel written by George V. Higgins under the direction of Andrew Dominik. The film stars Brad Pitt as a hit man brought in to clean up a mess made by a group of guys who had no business messing with a mob controlled card game.

There's not much else you really need to know about the story as you can pretty much fill in the blanks on how it all plays out. There are so many gangster movie clichés thrown in that you feel like you've seen this story a hundred times. You have aging mob figures trying to hang on to the lifestyle before they either end up dead or in jail alongside young wise guys who are as naive as they are reckless.

Sure there are some decent acting performances from guys like Pitt, Richard Jennings, Scoot McNairy, and even Ray Liotta in a fairly limited role, but none of the characters are really given a lot to do. The story just sort of wanders along without any real focus on one particular person so you never invest in any of them. This leads to a conclusion that falls so flat you wonder if they may have actually left out some of the movie in the cut you are watching.

There's also some weird societal message that is supposed to tie in to the story which is conveyed through audio and video clips of political speeches and commentaries as they are displayed on TV's and radios in just about every scene of the movie. For me, this was more of a distraction than anything else and I never felt these connect to the story even when Dominik tries to bring it all together at the movie's not so exciting conclusion. I suppose this is most likely where fans of the book and film will tell me I just don't get it.

Where Killing Me Softly really fails is how it tries to be like a Tarantino movie with long stretches of dialog that are supposed to be witty and engaging, or at least interesting in some fashion, but all of them just seem like such a waste of time. This is especially and unfortunately true for every scene that James Gandolfini is in.

If you choose to see this movie, be prepared for very little in the way of action, but what you do get is...well...a story where nothing really happens and you are left wondering how such a solid cast and a promising story could end up being so uninteresting.

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