Saturday, April 6, 2013

Movie Review: Killing Them Softly

Simple, awesome poster.

I'm a fan of Brad Pitt, I'm a fan of the director, Andrew Dominik, whose first film, "Chopper," is some kind of wonder. His second, "The Assassination of Jesse James," also very, very good. This movie I found satisfying, if a little slight.

It follows the aftermath of a small-time robbery. A mob-run poker game gets knocked over, and Brad Pitt is sent to find and punish the guilty parties.

What I really like about the movie is that it's uncoventional in many ways. It's not a straight up, clean story filled with cliches and bad guys that line up to die. In the first place, every character feels real -- from the body-punching thugs, to Pitt, to the thieves.

And I like how it's shot. Sometimes long takes, sometimes, slo-mo, always beautiful. I like the unbroken take when Ray Liotta's character gets beat up throughout his house -- and it's actually Ray Liotta going throw the window.

I like the effect when one character gets high -- we get a sense of his drug-induced state. And it's a good scene because the other character in the scene is trying to get important information out of his partner, and he's in no condition to answer them.

Throughout the movie, there are references on TV by President Bush and Senator Obama on the state of the bad economy. Even the crooks are feeling it. Money for hits isn't what it used to be. Everyone is taking a cut.

It's a punchy, dark, smartly written movie that successfully avoids many conventions.