Thoughts: Personal favourite Andrew Dominik turns in yet another stellar bit of character drama with Killing Them Softly. While the film is made up mostly of various people having lengthy conversations, when you have the likes of Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta and Ben Mendelsohn working the lense, you know you're in for a good bit of acting and line reading. Of course, it helps having someone with an eye such as Dominik, so the film's rather fatalistic and nihilistic tone doesn't go down too painfully. At least not nearly as painfully for the viewer as it is for the ill-fated characters.
From imdb:"Jackie Cogan is an enforcer hired to restore order after three dumb guys rob a Mob protected card game, causing the local criminal economy to collapse."
Brad Pitt is on top form, as is Mendelsohn. But personally, I'd like to give props to the recognizable-by-face Scoot McNairy, who plays his fairly-intelligent character with the kind of subservient grace that most take for granted. His is one that hasn't grand ideas, but simple means to ends, and knows what his limits are, and where to go, and who to see. Unfortunately he falls into the trap that most of us who prefer the background usually fall into- that of thinking the best of those around us, particularly those with the biggest mouths and occasional kind words of friendship. His trust is his weakness, and his downfall is painful yet inexorable to watch.
The film itself is very much a mirror to the US and their financial woes over the last decade, and how America is less of a country, and more of a business, as summed up well by Pitt in the film's closing moments. The film is as dry as they come, and Pitt embodies that one-track nature of most true capitalists. Business is business, as they say, and in even the trade of crime the hits are felt. Or at least, they "appear" to be. One only need to cry "recession" and apparently all problems are overlooked in the "he means well" sense of the word.
If you aren't a fan of conversation, then this is not the crime caper film for you. If however you like expert direction and fantastic actors going the whole way with some modicum of quiet professionalism, get into this. It's only 97mins too.