Killing Them Softly is the preferred method of gangster heavy Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt).
By keeping his distance and not making things personal, Jackie believes the business of murder is less stressful for both he and his victims. Unfortunately, it seems even in the world of professional tough guys, life gets in the way of day to day business and everybody wants to talk about it. We say, it’s a boring movie disguised as a clever movie.
TAYLOR: I think this movie shoots itself in the foot. The plot is simple: three dumb guys rob a gangster poker game and then have to deal with the consequences. But this isn’t only a gangster movie. The setting is during the 2008 Obama election, around the time of the Wall Street bailout. The film makes a narrative of a political and economic siren’s song. So much so that it takes away from what should have been the focus.
HOWE: It felt like they had a concept of a movie that lasted roughly over an hour and fifteen minutes and that was just a tad too short. Instead of spicing the storyline up a little, they cheaped out, throwing in 15 minutes worth of election speeches here and there to fill it up. I feel a snooze coming on.
TAYLOR: Everyone in this movie is suffering under the American way and I get the point this film makes about trickledown gangsternomics. I just don’t care. If they had focused more on the idiot gangsters, it could have been a dark comedy. As it was I just felt sorry for all these sweaty losers, doomed to count out their last, few paranoid hours before becoming statistics. This is a film of political, economical and social satire that isn’t funny, mashed into a world of monsters with issues and ultra-violence, rather than the other way around. One heist at a time fellas …
HOWE: I can see what director/writer Andrew Dominik was after, a Tarantino-type movie and to some extent he was able to pull it off; the long convoluted conversations, the old style music and lots of blood. But to me it just doesn’t work, there’s something lacking.
TAYLOR: The subtext takes over. They put a bunch of tough guys together and made a gangster film about economics. Sure, it’s artfully captured, loud and colourful. But if you hear a comedian tell a joke and rather than laugh, you nod your head and say, “I see where you’re going with that,” has the joke failed, or the comedian?
HOWE: I thought the entire cast did a fine job, but why did they cast James Gandolfini to play Mickey, the washed up hit man? He is so annoying as an actor. Did the film company run out of money spending it on Pitt’s pay and had to settle instead for the cheap man’s version of DeNiro?
Howe gives it 2.5 washing up gloves out of five.
Taylor gives it two panty hose masks out of five.
This film is currently playing at Landmark Cinema 7 in Penticton at 7:15 and 9:45 p.m. Weekend matinees are at 2:35 and 4:55 p.m.
Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are movie reviewers from the Okanagan.