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Killing Them Softly (2012)

Brad Pitt , Ray Liotta , Andrew Dominik  |  R |  DVD
2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (621 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta
  • Directors: Andrew Dominik
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Weinstein Company
  • DVD Release Date: March 26, 2013
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (621 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B009AMAL4Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,021 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Killing Them Softly" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Based on Killing Them Softly's somewhat misleading promotional campaign, expectant audiences may have thought they were in for an action-driven crime thriller. There's plenty of grit, street life, gangland lingo, and nuts-and-bolts criminal insiderism, but the overall tone is more akin to a David Mamet play than a rollicking Hollywood shoot-'em-up. The movie is an adaptation of the fine George V. Higgins novel Cogan's Trade, and it nicely transposes the tone and delivery of Higgins's spare prose into a visual style that keeps a long, lingering gaze on its unlovable bad guys. It also holds an attentive ear to the rhythm and pattern of their speech, turning the extended stretches of dialogue into unique tableaux of stylish exchanges between hit men, lowlife punks, and middle management gangsters. These scenes of hushed talk are infused with deeper meaning, not to mention lots of wit, and they make up the bulk of the film, whether in cars, bars, or hotel rooms or on street corners. Brad Pitt is a sleek and enigmatic presence as Jackie Cogan, a professional killer who's as exasperated by the stupidity around him as he is obsessed with the details of doing his job right. After an odd couple of hapless losers (Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn, who are a hoot) hit a mob-run card game, Jackie is called in to clean up the mess. Richard Jenkins is in terrific form as the befuddled mob accountant who reluctantly gives him the assignment. Thinking he'll need help with the job, Jackie enlists his long-time associate Mickey. But as inhabited by James Gandolfini, Mickey turns out to be a slovenly mess who Jackie clearly sees is past his prime. There are two long, highly oblique scenes between Pitt and Gandolfini that crackle with greatness. Also in the soup of clouded meaning and distinctive formal structure is Ray Liotta as Markie, the boob who runs the card game. A rain-soaked scene that has Markie at the four-fisted end of a brutal beat-down is one of the most vicious and visually poetic fights ever seen. The master of all the talking, fleeting sequences of grisly violence and philosophizing about financial downfall and change (the movie is set on the cusp of 2008's economic crisis and presidential campaign) is director Andrew Dominik. Much as he did in 2007's The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (also starring Brad Pitt), Dominik is much more interested in the nuanced detail of manner and attitude than the physical action that results. That's not to say that Killing Them Softly doesn't excel at the remarkable execution of classic crime-drama set pieces. But the movie and its characters take a lot of time to hang back and observe and listen to get at the real meaning of how things happen and why. It's a process that's fascinating to watch, no matter how trivial the detail or how shocking the result. --Ted Fry

Product Description

Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) is an enforcer for the Mob. When a high-stakes Mob protected card game is heisted by some small time crooks Cogan is called in to track them down and restore order to the local criminal economy. KILLING THEM SOFTLY also features a classic cast of misfits Richard Jenkins James Gandolfini Ray Liotta Scoot McNairy Ben Mendelsohn Vincent Curatola Max Casella Trevor Long Slaine and Sam Shepard.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
180 of 218 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It isn't what you think it is February 20, 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
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?
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55 of 69 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wasted Potential December 13, 2012
By billy
Format:DVD
On paper, Killing Them Softly sounds like a winning proposition. It's from director Andrew Dominick, who helmed The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, one of the finest films of the past decade. It features some excellent actors; Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Scott McNairy, Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins, and Vincent Curatola are all fine actors. In execution however, the film is a mixed bag. It alternates between a slow talky existential gangster movie and a very blunt political satire. The finished product has some nice standout scenes and dialogue, but it's too slow and too muddled to be considered a success.

The plot centers around a heist of a poker game that sends the local mafia in New Orleans in to an economic tailspin. This all happens during the run up to the 2008 presidential election of Barack Obama. Parallels are drawn between the gangsters in the movie and the people on Wall Street and in Washington who perpetrated the housing bubble that lead to the economic crash. Criminal activity freezes up and money quits moving, similar to the credit shortage attributed to the banking crash. Just about every scene has talk radio or CSPAN on in the background.

A few individual scenes stand out. The heist sequence is near perfect. Gandolfini's scenes, though somewhat superfluous to the overall narrative, are acted with authority. Gandolfini really is a fine actor, and he pulls of his scenes with gusto. The drive out for the final hit is quite well done and suspenseful.

The problem is the individual scenes don't really make for a satisfying whole. I found the narrative rather slow and too deliberately paced, and this is coming from a guy who normally enjoys when a film takes it's time.
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67 of 86 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stylish yet hard-as-nails hitman crime drama November 30, 2012
Format:DVD
"Killing Them Softly" (2012 release; 100 min.) reunites writer/director Andrew Dominik with Brad Pitt (following 2007's "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"). The movie brings the story of how some small-time thieves hold up a poker game organized for the mob by Markie (played by Ray Liotta). The mob brings in Jackie (played by Brad Pitt) to find out who did the hold-up and to "clean things up, and so Jackie goes about his business. To tell you more of the plot would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Several comments: when all is said and done, the substantive plot is surprisingly meager, and in that sense there is no suspense whatsoever in how things will turn out. Instead the movie focuses on conversations between the various characters in the movie, which works great. If you've seen the trailer for this movie, you are aware already that there are several violent scenes in the movie, but for the most part they are brought in a very stylish manner (at one point one of the main characters is gunned down and the whole scene, shown in slow motion and set to the 1960s Ketty Lester hit "Love Letters", feels like an orchestrated ballet scene. That said, there is another scene in which Markie is beaten up that is over-the-top violent, so viewer beware. Despite the 1980s feeling to many scenes in the movies (check out many of the cars used by the main characters), the movie is set very specifically in the Fall of 2008, as we see a number of clips featuring Bush and Obama, commenting on the then just exploding financial crisis, which is in marked contrast (or perhaps not?) to the violence occurring in the movie.

But most of all this movie is about incredible acting performances.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Was rated one the best movies done
My son has watched, I am waiting. Was rated one the best movies done.
Published 1 hour ago by Dawn Kuykendall
2.0 out of 5 stars Bad guys do bad stuff, who cares?
Killing Them Softly
This is a movie with something for nobody. We are given some excellent acting by famous people to no good purpose. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Andy McKinney
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fast shipping and brand new so great
Published 11 days ago by Donna L Knudsoncayalina
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Perfect product in a perfect conditions!!.
Published 15 days ago by carlos
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great
Published 17 days ago by William Goff
1.0 out of 5 stars Bored to tears
worst movie ever. couldn't even finish watching it.
Published 20 days ago by Elaine Jergens
1.0 out of 5 stars Brad should be ashamed.
Bah. I've read a lot of reviews trying to wrap my head around what went wrong with this movie. First impression, I hated it. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Jeremiah Harrington
1.0 out of 5 stars Killing Them Softly - Terrible Movie
One of the worse movies I have ever seen, I never even finished watching it
Published 26 days ago by Thomas Waring
3.0 out of 5 stars could have been better.
I watched it twice to give it three stars. could have been better.
Published 26 days ago by spork
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard-Boiled Crime Grit at its Best
Looking for a hard-boiled contemporary crime drama with great characters, acting (Gandolfini, McNairy, and Pitt), dialogue, and atmosphere? You've found it. Read more
Published 28 days ago by James Ross Curley
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