Every review I've read has been wrong (by winston9109)
If you want to watch Scarface - go watch Scarface. This movie isn't. KTS is a 180 from the majority of crime classics and their many copycats. The factor that clumps most crime genre flicks together is the top-down perspective. For instance, in the Departed it was the rats joining up with the heads of their respective sides of the law - Costello and Queenin. The same with Pauli in Goodfellas, the Don in Godfather.KTS splits apart because it is a film about crime from the perspective of the prey. The opening shot is a junkie in a cold, wet New Orleans wind, lost in a whirlwind of trash <more>
against harsh white sky. This is the view of hopelessness - its also the familiarity of many post-disaster neighborhoods. These characters absorbed into the criminal underworld, not because they are evil, but because they haven't many other options and they're too dumb to know the danger they are in. This is the what KTS communicates to us with the background broadcast of the '08 elections and financial meltdown. When bullets fly in this film - you feel it, because you feel for the characters, which is why having Cogan as its opaque center is so blisteringly effective. He is pragmatic, unapologetic and a completely objective lens to see through. He is the balance between the corrupt political overcast and slime at the bottom of the barrel. "America isn't a country. It's a business."Cogan is the the cleanup for the corporation. He snips the buds, ties up the loose ends. He is the inevitability of the business world."They are all nice guys." The humanization of the characters drains you as one by one they slip into darkness. Cogan's jaws open and you understand that the characters are rats in a labyrinth, they are all gears that will eventually be discarded. The soundtrack rhetoric quite fluidly illuminates the movies' greater statement. With all the economic jargon in a ping-pong propaganda game there are people sleeping out on the streets - and a hungry dog has to eat. And all the way up the food chain, through a shady poker game in the back of some shut-down strip mall, to the podium and our new elected president, everyone is a hungry dog here. This is a methodical film that takes its time with each individual scene. It plays with time and space, slowing down, drifting in and out and then exploding. Cogan walks through the sparks and smoke, he is our escort in understanding the nature and design of things, and he does with an unforgettable composure. The elements of the film - acting, cinematography, etc, adapt to its scope and drive, the purpose that the makers sat down and did it. Each end does its job, and considering where you end up there's not much room for improvement in any area. Is it the Godfather? No. But its something completely different, and for what KTS was intending to accomplish, it was excellent. Don't be deterred by the negative reviews, but don't go in expecting the recycling of Scorsese and Copella. This a picture of its own kind, of its own vision. Let it move you.
Yes, They Can Still Make 'Em Like They Used To (by Joaquin_Collete)
Brad Pitt and Andrew Dominik's fantastic Killing Them Softly has the rigor and grace of the great American crime pictures of the 1970s. A loose adaptation of George V Higgins' great 1974 crime novel Cogan's Trade. A fulfilling elegant and stylish black comedy. The script, acting, direction were all superbly done, and should be commended. Although the film can be very pessimistic, it does have a message, one that should resonate in the near future. The whole cast was extremely effective and highly believable. However Brad Pitt is simply terrific, and deserves much acclaim that <more>
could come to him. Just like The Assassination of Jesse James, Pitt plays subtle, but yet powerful sociopath and it ripples the film throughout. James Gandolfini Gandolfini is excellent as a boozy, broken old assassin. Ray Liotta offers a grotesque reprise of the type of manic gangster he played in his younger years in Goodfellas. Richard Jenkins is solemn as ever as the killer's contact, relaying back messages from the Mob and trying to beat Cogan down on prices. All the men here are relentlessly sexist and foul-mouthed.Dominik shoots the action in a grimy shallow focus and his screenplay is tough as steel and shot through with pessimistic, even black humor. There is no mistaking the fact that Dominik loves his characters, letting their dialogue shine uninterrupted. Although the The political message is a little heavy-handed and a bit repetitive, Andrew Domink crafts a memorable and highly thought-provoking crime film, with Brad Pitt shows the world again, that he's a fantastic actor that always surpasses the hype around him.
A pleasure to watch an intelligent well made movie (by pottypat-406-988909)
If you are sick of generic clichéd action film making, you will enjoy this unique gem. An actors movie. The superb cast subtly weave a bleak and violent morality tale. Everyone is given beautiful little soliloquies. This drew me into each character, even though they are all without exception unpleasant, I still was able to empathize with them. It was like a modern Shakespeare with the regular TV news and political speechifying in the background as a running commentary on the stories progress. The editing was so good I never noticed it. Thank you to everyone who had a hand in this classic. It <more>
is a dark movie and I can imagine its subtle complexities being lost on the great unwashed and washed.
As gritty and grimy as crime heists come! (by DanLives1980)
Yet another great film being given a bad name by "reviewers trying to do us a favour" really??? like you're a shepherd and we're all sheep here??? . If you're going to read a review, here's one that speaks in all fairness and without trying to glorify it.'Killing Them Softly' is a contemporary multi-narrative crime drama that oversees what crime has become to the mafia since we've seen what years of recession have done to America, post 9/11. It's a film you have to settle into and to watch and listen carefully, yet it provides us with storytelling <more>
style very similar to the likes of Quentin Tarantino and classic Danny Boyle.It also makes good use of some classic conventions and you may notice a little bit of Mean Streets, Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, Chopper, Pulp Fiction, Trainspotting etc.When ex-convict Frankie and his Australian heroin-addict friend Russell are employed to hold up a mafia poker game in their rundown dead end town, they get away with it, though causing the local economy to collapse and putting mob boss Markie Trattman Ray Liotta in the frame.The dons send mob enforcer Jackie Brad Pitt over to deal with it and to set an example, he methodically sets about cleaning up in due fashion.That is the plot, pure and simple, but aside from that, 'Killing Them Softly' is more a film about the bleak, harsh reality of crime in the modern day American towns that the government has all but abandoned and it is therefore about the sheer dead-end desperation of a certain breed of people.Unemployment, recession, drug addiction, violence, desperation, failing health, wilful self-destruction and the disgusting manner in which people regard each other with - it all adds up to one great stark reality. The only way that the government has succeeded in destroying organised crime is by destroying its own country's economy. Desperate people will do anything to survive knowing that, if they give up, they are as good as dead. And that sets the tone for this movie from beginning to end.Not surprisingly in hindsight, this film has no real lead characters, but universally supporting characters that serve the story until its bitter ending where we are treated to a summary in words between two characters. This helps to give a sense that nobody is of any real importance to each other, which is true to the nature of most of its characters.If you like your crime movies real, you'll love this. I'm so surprised at how seamless it is, and also how easy it is to watch despite how well acted and intense it becomes. Dark, gritty, grimy, filthy, absurd, depressing and yet bold with a few good laughs!
Killing Them Softly — Gritty realistic crime movie (by AvidClimber)
Killing Them Softly has the very idea of Pulp Fiction behind it: people involved in crimes are real people too, not just criminals. The result is slice of life of those people.The difference lies in the way it is presented. KTS is less comedic than PF, it has laughs, but not that surreal effect that comes close to caricature. It is a more realistic version without all the flowery prose, with more in your face camera moves, instead of the odd, yet effective, choices that Tarantino makes.Pitt is excellent, and I like his choice of tone. A very mature Brad, letting us know he can do things in a <more>
more muted format.Violence is there of course, the rhythm is very casual, the story interesting, and the bits of action gripping. Very effective movie. I highly recommend, unless you can stand that kind of violence. The only reason I didn't give it a perfect mark was the fact that being a very brutal film, I won't able to watch it as often as my favorites.See it, well worth it. The theatre will bring an addition dimension, but it that's my point of view.
George V. Higgins wrote some superb hard-boiled crime fiction novels and two of his very best are "The Friends of Eddie Coyle" and "Cogan's Trade." Both written in the seventies and focusing on nefarious activities in the Boston underworld, the former was made into a suitably downbeat movie in 1974, featuring Robert Mitchum in one of his career best performances. Now "Cogan's Trade" is updated to the year of Obama's election and put on screen by director Andrew Dominik as KILLING THEM SOFTLY.I can't claim to be a big fan of Brad Pitt but you'd <more>
have to be in complete denial to fail to acknowledge that he takes on some seriously unglamourous roles and projects clearly chosen to advance his status as an actor rather than a Hollywood star. This is more evidence. Here his plays Jackie Cogan, a razor sharp and clued-in hit-man contracted by the Boston mob to rub out the perpetrators of a poker-game heist. Cogan is a replacement for Dillon a character who also featured in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE who has been hospitalised. Instantly he figures out who's responsible for what and what has to be done. Then things get tricky.First, the unseen mob executive board don't want him to whack Markie Ray Liotta the host of the illegal poker game. Rather, they want him roughed up because people like him. Markie has a history – he knocked off his own poker game once in the past. Although this time he's innocent, Cogan knows that he has to be killed, reasoning that it is weak to do otherwise and will send the wrong message. Next up, the "mastermind" of the heist, Johnny Amato Vincent Curatola knows Cogan, so Cogan reasons an out-of-towner needs to be brought in to carry out the hit. Unfortunately, the out-of-towner in question, Mickey James Gandolfini is now a hopeless, burned-out alcoholic with an unfaithful wife and a penchant for hookers. He's less than useless. Meanwhile, the two incredibly dumb lowlife sleaze-balls who carried out the heist, Frankie and Russell Scott McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn , are phenomenally careless and loose-mouthed about the robbery with Russell addicted to heroin and embroiled in a plan to become a dealer and Frankie all jittery and nervously unstable.So it goes. Convincing characters, great dialogue, stylish filming Markie's death sequence is amazingly staged and shot and wonderful interplay from a solid-gold ensemble cast make this one of the best films of 2012. Credit to Pitt for his super-cool turn as a completely bad-ass enforcer calmly and confidently striding through a world of unravelling mayhem and incompetence where he is the only character with the force of will to exercise control and do what is required to set things right. For some, it might be seen as dialogue-heavy, rambling and at times incoherent, but that's probably the point. Life is often like that and things don't go according to plan, so it's credible and realistic in that sense. The pacing may also come across as a bit ramshackle and uneven, but it's a minor point.I, for one, was riveted, and it's pleasing to see a film stick relatively close to the spirit and content of the source material, finding ways to enhance it in transition from page to screen. The criminal world is represented as a sub-cultural society that is fractious and disorganised, beset by indecisiveness and uncertainty – presenting the concept of "organised crime" as something of a misnomer. If you want a movie that's hip and cool, that isn't bogged down by pretentiousness and glamorisation, something that crackles with quotable dialogue punctuated by episodes of stylishly rendered yet appalling violence, then this might be for you.The obvious star appeal of Brad Pitt was not enough to make this a box-office hit and I'm not overly surprised. There's no CGI, no pallid and winsome vampires or spandex-wearing superheroes, so that's the teenies out of the equation. You need to watch, listen and concentrate, drinking in the atmosphere and savouring the slow-burn. Farewell to the ADHD contingent. The action content is sparse with the tension content being high, so nothing much for the adrenaline junkies. No good guys, no heroes, some bad language and some cruelly explicit violence which will likely alienate the moralists. And we have a political counterpoint to the Obama feel good factor, driven home by Cogan's flint-hard cynicism about America in his closing speech – the film ends on the lines: "Don't make me laugh. I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business. Now *beep* pay me!" So how popular was it likely to be with the masses?No matter. It's popular with me. I like good cinema. And that's how it strikes
Solid, Hero-less, Unsentimental Crime Movie (by chase_g)
This movie was done in a style that was quite unique from your standard issue shoot 'em up or Scorsese gangster movie in a number of ways I found refreshing. It slowed down the pace of dialogue scenes to a relatable and believable level, made the violence far more realistic, and didn't overdo the music. Those who can't handle too much, or too realistic of violence won't like this movie.Some might feel the dialogue makes the movie drag just a bit, but if you like realistic filmmaking, they've made it feel as if you're sitting in on actual conversations. The scenes and <more>
cuts are long but are livened up with the fairly constant scummy-ness of the characters. James Gandolfini seemed to prattle on a little too much but I suppose that was the point.The violence can be summed up as unsentimental; much of it can be defined by the difficult achievement of not falling into played out Hollywood clichés. There are no heros in this movie as the director doesn't use cheap tricks, like voiceovers, disproportionate screen time, or happy music to convince you that one criminal is worth rooting for over the others. There is no glorification or demonization of violence, as it is depicted without the influence of music, and the audience can decide for themselves about what is being shown. There are no Schwartzenegger-style shoot outs, as the violence is usually sudden but brutal and loud. Every gunshot is closer to being as loud as real life, so you get a little jolt with every shot like being at a gun range.The use of music is also played down and important in making both the violence and dialogue distinct. There is some music which gives the movie some energy, but overall far less than the average Hollywood film. This adds an element of suspense as the music doesn't give away what is about to happen in every scene like a movie with ominous music when something bad is about to happen, etc. . The lack of music also allows the audience a semblance of neutrality in what they are observing; characters are allowed to be likable without being good. This is the sort of movie you could expect if the hero was removed and you only had the villains and thugs left over--it is far less boring.
George V. Higgins must be the most underrated "crime" novelist around. He is admired by higher profile authors like James Ellroy but largely unknown by the general crime-reading public. Perhaps it's the shaggy dog, dialogue-driven nature of his books that puts people off. His stories are more about the journey than the destination. Higgin's finely observed portrayals of the speech-patterns and behaviours of the American East Coast underclass should have made his work fertile ground for screen adaptations, but again he has been pipped by other crime authors. As far as I'm <more>
aware only one other of his novels, 'The Friends of Eddie Coyle', has been adapted to film. A new adaptation was well overdue. Thankfully, director and screen writer Andrew Dominik has stayed true to the source material Higgin's novel 'Cogan's Trade' . In doing so, he has made a film of dialogue and mannerisms where, like Higgin's books, it's not so much where you end up, but how you get there. Along this journey, Dominik is ably assisted by a fine ensemble cast led by Brad Pitt. Each part plays its role and each is essential to the success of the other.'Killing Them Softly' may not be to everyone's taste, but if you like your films to be "mouthy", intelligent, well-scripted, well-acted and well-paced, this is one for you.
'Killing Them Softly' shows how not all films have to be high-octane and fast-moving for them to be excellent. This film surprised me because there wasn't as much violence as I expected but it was overall a lot better than I thought it would be. The story is tied in with the 2008 US General Election which is around the time where the global economy really did begin to fail. It's a pretty standard mob/hit-man story but its social setting makes it a little bit different from other films. The film doesn't flow very quickly but it does so in a realistic fashion. Things <more>
progress in the film at a natural pace, not too quickly. The ending might be a bit deflating for some but I thought it was quite intelligent as it ends just as Barack Obama is giving his first speech shortly after winning the election. However, because this was filmed with hindsight in mind it's not as clever as it could have been; we already know what the next four years are going to be like so when Brad Pitt's character dismisses the elections stating that nothing will change it's not that genius because we all already know what the aftermath of this film will be anyway. The story was basic but there were quite a few instances where you're left shocked or surprised, especially in the violent scenes. There's no majesty in this film, the death scenes are quick, violent and shocking which makes it seem more realistic. There's one scene where slow motion and high definition footage is used but after that it's all quick and brutal but it works really well.The acting performances are pretty good; Brad Pitt was excellent, it's been a while where we have seen him play an antagonist. He plays a very complex character who is obviously some sort of sociopath but also has basic manners and can act like a gentleman at some points. James Gandolfini's character can be seen as pointless in some scenes but his purpose of showing how old hit men live out the rest of their lives is quite refreshing. Ray Liotta's role was a little bit disappointing; he doesn't have much screen-time. He performed well but you could have got any actor to play that role. Scoot McNairy really surprised me; he showed a lot of potential here and it would be great to see him in more films. Overall, this film wasn't brilliant but it was a lot better than I had expected. Despite the dialogue being really well written and really funny in some cases, there were scenes which dragged on too much. Scenes with James Gandolfini were the main examples of this which is a shame because he gave a great performance. One of the really great things about this film was the little doses of humour scattered throughout it, making it a lot more bearable. I would recommend this film if you liked films like 'The Departed' or even 'Goodfellas', it's a lot different from those two films but it is of the same quality.