REVIEW: ‘Killing Them Softly’ – Brad Pitt Delivers That Punch Line

'Killing Them Softly'
‘Killing Them Softly’

If you enjoyed ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford’ (2007) directed by Andrew Dominik, it is possible you might like ‘Killing Them Softly’.

This Brad Pitt starrer is an over-written crime drama that is more about the talking and the underlying political comment than it is about action and drama. Based on George V. Higgins’ novel, ‘Cogan’s Trade’, it takes spotlights the world of gangsters during the US recession.

Throughout the film, various excerpts from President Obama’s speeches play in the background. Against this pans out the story of a hit-man whose only motivation is payment.

He is put on the job of finding and eliminating some con men who foolishly rob a mob-protected poker game. Pitt plays a specialist hired to eliminate these amateurs and set the score straight. James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins and Scooty McNairy also star but Pitt’s the glue that binds an otherwise testing treatise and critique of American capitalist rhetoric.

Dominik does keep you guessing and creates some bristling scenes. However, as with his last film, this is also patience-testing. And it’s not just the thieves who are being killed softly – it’s also the audience that is required to submit to the pace.

It all comes together however when Pitt delivers that final punch-line, if you sit through to the end.

Rating: ***