Gangster flick leaves reviewer for dead

01:42, Dec 03 2012
Brad Pitt
BAD MAN: Jackie (Brad Pitt) is a ruthlessly efficient killer in Killing Them Softly.

Killing Them Softly. Starring Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta and Richard Jenkins; directed by Andrew Dominik

I like to think that I have an eclectic and relatively good taste in the movies I choose to watch. I'm not really that fussy as long as a movie is entertaining in some way, whether that is to make me jump with fright, make me cry with laughter, or tug at my heart strings.

I could probably say that I have actually enjoyed almost every movie I have seen (the main exception being Alone in the Dark, a truly terrible, pointless movie starring Christian Slater) and up until now, I have never walked out on a film.

I wanted to be upfront and say that, because this review will be based on only the first 45 minutes of Killing Them Softly, the new film from Kiwi director Andrew Dominik whose past films have included Chopper and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

Set during the recent economic crisis, Killing Them Softly (or as I am now calling it, Killing Them SLOWLY) follows professional hitman Jackie Cogan (Pitt) who has been called in to deal with a robbery at a mob-infested, high-rolling poker game that is causing the local mob crew to lose money.

The film opens with jarring opening titles that instantly made me feel uneasy. The following 45 minutes (which felt like two hours) are made up of slow dialogue, odd cinematography choices, average acting and, in my opinion, a rather boring and trite storyline.


While there were obvious parallels between the economic fall of the film's criminals and the global recession, I felt the film was trying to be too clever by including blips from politicians promising economic change. Conceptually it is a great idea, but it didn't quite feel right.

After leaving the theatre, my friend and I told that kind chap behind the counter that we couldn't bear to sit through the remaining 52 minutes; he surprisingly said he enjoyed it. I asked him how it ended which, unfortunately, was exactly how I had predicted and was quite similar to another gangster film that was a lot better.

I am sure that there is an audience for Killing Them Softly. However, I am definitely not part of it.

I'm also positive that some readers will be tearing their hair out reading this review spouting comments like, "She completely missed the point" and "Is she crazy?"

So, if it is your type of thing, by all means, go and see this film and enjoy. However, I would recommend seeing any other of the films playing now at your local theatre.

The Southland Times