Killing Them Softly
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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?Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
poorly directed. Poor attempt at trying to copy Quentin Tarantino.Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
Wonderful movie! Criminally underrated... the blu ray transfer is also beautifulPublished 2 months ago by Siegfried the Cat
I love the look of this film and I love the performances. If you love James Gandolfini, he gets about 10 solid minutes and he's fascinating to watch. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Cameron Chase
This is an ANTI-AMERICAN film, that forces its viewers to listen to Obama speeches and left-wing propanga. Enuf said?Published 3 months ago by Arthur Frame
Aside from the commentary on the recession, this is a really good representation of George Higgins. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Under-rated classic. Great acting. Great sound. Great writing.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer