Gimme Some Oven

{weekend watch} Killing Them Softly

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Bad Pitt fans rejoice: this film has nothing to do with Channel No. 5. Based on the trailer, I’d venture to guess that the world of Killing Them Softly smells more like burnt rubber, rain on gas-soaked streets and stale cigarette smoke.

The film is adapted and directed by Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) from the book Cogan’s Trade by George V. Higgins. After some rookies rob a mafia card game, enforcer Jackie (Brad Pitt) is hired to bring the local underworld back to status quo. The crime movie has a stellar supporting cast, including Richard Jenkins (I kept wanting to call the tiger in Life of Pi Richard Jenkins, instead of Richard Parker), Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini and Scoot McNairy.

The trailer has some great cinematography by Greig Fraser (Snow White and the Huntsman, Let Me In) that I’m anxious to see on the big screen. And I’m curious to see whether the film proves or disproves the trailer’s ending line, “I live in America, and in America you’re on your own.”

You should go if: You like crime dramas, Pitt and/or driving-in-the-rain scenes.

Early reports: Rotten Tomatoes currently has the film at an 88% fresh rating. Hollywood Reporter critic Todd McCarthy gives us this intriguing description: “A juicy, bloody, grimy and profane crime drama that amply satisfies as a deep-dish genre piece, Killing Them Softly rather insistently also wants to be something more.”

Gimme Film movies playing this weekend: Life of Pi, Lincoln, Citadel, Skyfall, The Sessions 

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Sarah Magill

Sarah Magill has a full-time movie habit made possible by a day-time greeting card writing gig. She blogs at Gimme Some Film and is learning to write scripts and direct. She tries to balance her screen obsession with trail running, jazz singing, book clubbing, and hanging out with The Best Golden Retriever Ever, Copa.

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9 comments on “{weekend watch} Killing Them Softly”

  1. Ha! Love the Chanel #5 Amazon link. ;)

    I’ve heard a few interviews with Pitt this week. This one definitely sounds intriguing!

    • I didn’t do much pre-research on this one because I wanted to go in cold, but now I want to read and watch a bunch of making-of stuff!

  2. Yes, looking forward to this as a #1 Brad Pitt fan.

  3. Oh Lord have mercy. I had no idea this was an Andrew Dominik movie. His Jesse James film is one of my top 5 all-time favorites. And I thought the way the whole thing went down with the studio had ended his career. Good to see it hasn’t. It only took 5 years for him to get another project up I guess. (It probably helps to have Brad Pitt as your biggest fan.)

    • Tell me how it went down with the studio! I haven’t heard that story. I remember not loving Jesse James, but I’ll have to re-watch it now that I know it’s in your top 5!

    • There were lots of things the studio didn’t love about it either, particularly the length. They kept telling him to cut it and cut it and cut it down. Finally, he said “no more.” They threatened to bury the movie so deep in other blockbuster releases that no one would see it, and his directing career would be over. He said, “Okay.” The story goes that Pitt (who is a producer and his company Plan B also produced) was desperately trying to mediate the situation because he believed so much in Andrew & the project. Pitt actually spent hours in the editing room with Andrew trying to make everyone happy. The movie was buried and under promoted and kind of slipped into the cosmos. Casey Affleck & Roger Deakins (DP) both received Oscar nominations.

      The list of reasons I love this movie is long. I think it starts with the fact that my dad loves cowboy/outlaw lore. So I was steeped in it. I visited James’ home and grave and whatever else. Marry that with the fact that I’m a Pitt fan, and we’re off to a good start. The writing is amazing. The score and the acting are amazing. Casey Affleck is haunting. And I would say even the cinematography exceeds Life of Pi’s in beauty and vision. It’s different, I know, but you can point the camera at exotic animals and the Pacific Ocean and get a beautiful shot fairly easily. I’m not diminishing Pi, but achieving this in 19th Cent. Missouri is a much greater feat. Anyway, I could go on. The film isn’t for everyone. It has a slow, methodical pace, but give it another go.

    • I’m sold on re-watching it now! Just moved it to the top of my queue. That’s a painful story about how team conflict can hurt a good story. Any interest in writing up a review/commentary/whatever about it and being a guest poster? Have a feeling lots of people are going to be taking another look at The Assassination… after seeing Killing Them Softly.