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Killing Them Softly [Blu-ray]

2.5 out of 5 stars 706 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Three dumb guys who think they're smart rob a Mob protected card game, causing the local criminal economy to collapse. Brad Pitt plays the enforcer hired to track them down and restore order.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta
  • Directors: Andrew Dominik
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Ultraviolet, Color, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Weinstein Company
  • DVD Release Date: March 26, 2013
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (706 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B009AMALBM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,529 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Killing Them Softly [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher J. H. Lambert on 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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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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2 Comments 63 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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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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