Killing Them Softly (2012)

Killing Them Softly (2012)
Killing Them Softly (2012) This movie has gotten a raw deal. It is a 5-star movie. The problem is it's an exceedingly subtle movie. Read through the mixed to negative reviews and you see one of two things (or both things): either the person thinks the movie is superficial politica, or they had expectations (because of the gangster genre) and were let down.

Here's the thing. This movie is a recreation of the 2008 financial crisis. Every character in the movie represents a different group (like Richard Jenkins is obviously the American government). When you view the movie with this frame, as a parable, I think it takes on new dimensions. You're suddenly comparing characters and groups of characters (like the poker players) to their real-life equivalents (the poker players represent the American 1%). But you're also looking at the interaction between characters and then what that's saying about the interaction between the real-life equivalents. What do I mean by that? The final speech. I won't give it away, but a lot of reviewers and people who have seen the movie say the final speech is cheesy. Sure. Except when you view it through the frame of "Brad Pitt's character has a real-life equivalent", the final speech takes on a different dynamic. It isn't just some speech in a fictional narrative of some movie. It has a real-world influence, it represents something that's not fiction. Who does Brad Pitt's character represent? It's not a "who" rather than a "what". (Hint: it's the American Spirit). The question isn't "is the speech cheesy or not, is it bad or not, is it cool or not?" The question is: do you agree that the speech is representative of the 21st Century American Spirit? If not, why? If so, why? If you agree, does the speech make you feel a rush of pride or discomfort? Then you also have to analyze what it means that it's the avatar for the American Spirit that ends the movie with a surge of emotion. Is Andrew Dominick saying that despite all the **** from the 2008 crisis, the American Spirit will overcome it and win out? I think so.

In other words: imagine taking the 2008 financial crisis and condensing it into a fairy tale wearing gangster clothes. That's what "Killing Them Softly" is.

Don't expect a fast-moving gangster movie. Don't expect "The Departed" or "Goodfellas".

Don't short-change the movie and think it's dumber than what it thinks it is. If it's not smarter than you, it's at least as smart as you.

It's fine if you understand what the movie is doing and still don't like it. Maybe it really is too slow for you. Maybe you just don't like these kinds of movies. It's not a bad movie, though.

Given time, people and critics and scholars will come to appreciate this movie. I hope you're one of them.

Synopsis: During the economic turmoil of 2008, Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt), an enforcer, is hired to restore order after three idiots rob a mob-protected poker game.
Starring: Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy
Supporting actors: Ben Mendelsohn, Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Vincent Curatola, Max Casella, Sam Shepard
Directed by: Andrew Dominik
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Runtime: 1 hour 38 minutes
Captions and Subtitles: English Details
Release year: 2012
Studio: The Weinstein Company
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, sexual references, pervasive language, and some drug use


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