Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Killing Them Softly ★ ★ ★ ★

It's a Hard Business
 
Australia: 11th October, 2012; USA 30th November UK 21st September
Other Countries: Release Dates







There is nothing soft about the way people die in KILLING THEM SOFTLY.  In the same vein as the recent SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, and cult classic PULP FICTION, if you are squeamish with on-screen blood and brutal killings then you may want to drag out THE GODFATHER instead—which seems so terribly mild these days.

In fact, it seems the violence in films has increased dramatically in the past few years and you can’t help wondering if it is art reflecting life or vice versa.  How can a violent assault on a racketeer, or killing after killing of not so innocent victims be entertaining even enlightening? 
Yet, KILLING THEM SOFTLY, written for the screen and directed by Andrew Dominik, certainly gives you an insight into the notion that even the bad guys are taking a hit (excuse the  pun) as a result of the economic downturn.
Based on the George V. Higgins novel, ‘Cogan’s Trade’, we enter the world of underworld enforcer Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt).  He’s the go-to guy when you want somebody taught a “life” lesson or removed from the playing field.
Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta) has the misfortune of having his mob poker game robbed by two of the dumbest thieves you will ever meet Frankie (Scoot McNairy) and Russell (Ben Mendelsohn).  Imagine that, for gloves for the heist, Russell brings over-sized bright yellow washing up numbers.  Yep, say no more.  And most of the time they are either stoned, drunk or bringing themselves into harm’s way from sheer stupidity. 
The Mob is clearly a professional corporation, with Richard Jenkins (the driver) as the messenger, who brings in Jackie to investigate the robbery and dispense justice.  He in turn brings in Mickey (James Gandolfini) an esteemed hit-man.  It’s a cat and mouse game with the very cool Jackie becoming increasingly frustrated with the idiocy of hit-men, the mob and the ignorant heist guys.
It’s funny and gritty, and although a little unwieldy in parts, the corporate suffering financial constraints concept—albeit the mob—and the cool manner in which Cogan runs his enforcer business—as if he is delivering newspapers instead of death—makes a riveting story.