Softly is NOT how the killings are done. Before Brad Pitt starts pumping lead we see Ray Liotta subjected to one of the most brutal beatings I have seen on screen; you hear his teeth and ribs crack. The killings are equally visceral; this is not a film for the faint-hearted.
Brad sheds his Adonis persona for the grunge look he wore in FIGHT CLUB, although the character he's playing is a darker version of Tom Cruise's in COLLATERAL. Liotta reprises his role in GOODFELLAS. James Gandolfini builds on his Tony Soprano character to play another hit-man burnt out by too much booze and too many hookers. Richard Jenkins's creepy saturnine Mob Boss seems to extend his (dead!) undertaker from SIX FEET UNDER. There are lengthy talk scenes in cars and bars that bring PULP FICTION and GET SHORTY to mind. The background TV election campaigning by George Dubya and Barack Omaba is presumably meant to emphasise that this is a Serious Movie we're watching, but it's as unsubtle as the hurricane footage.
KILLING THEM SOFTLY shows its sources (or its "hommages") too blatantly. The whole thing is like a hyped-up Guy Ritchie or Quentin Tarantino: some good acting, stunning cinematography, a profanity-rich script, but overall a talky, pretentious and very, very violent movie - and quite tedious.
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