Critic Reviews

64

Metascore

Based on 42 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Killing them Softly is a lurid and nasty little nihilistic hitman noir, with an ingenuity that sneaks up on you.
100
The film is terribly smart in every respect, with ne'er-a-false note performances and superb craft work from top to bottom.
88
Jolting, suspenseful, full of twisted sympathy for its goons' row of characters, and wickedly amusing to boot, Killing Them Softly summons up the ghosts of "Goodfellas" and a whole nasty tradition of crime pics. And then it lets its ghosts go, whacking and thwacking away.
88
A bleakly comic, brutally Darwinian gangland saga that at times comes close to being this year's "Drive." It also does something that, if you're from around these parts, seems downright perverse. It takes the Boston out of George V. Higgins.
80
Killing Them Softly has more unruly energy, and less art-house pretension, than "The Assassination of Jesse James." Its disreputability does come with a faintly arty sheen sprayed on - the picture could be a little grubbier, but let's not split hairs, especially such nice, greasy ones.
75
Murder is just another day at the office for corporate America, and the film hammers that theme home with diminishing returns. But the acting is aces, especially Pitt mixing it up with the superb James Gandolfini.
75
Brad Pitt is in ecstasy here, despite the cool demeanor throughout. This is an actor who is never better and never happier than when he gets to be seedy, slick his hair back and wear a leather jacket.
75
There's nothing touchy-feely about Killing Them Softly, a stylish thriller worth seeing -- despite its relentless violence -- for its sharp dialogue, mesmerizing photography and gritty performances.
70
If gangsterism is just capitalism in a more raw form, then Jackie is the creature best suited for this world. He knows the rules and enforces them without prejudice, because it's just business and this is just a job. Killing Them Softly doesn't give that idea its intended sting.
60
The writer-director becomes so intent on hammering home the parallels between economic decay, political disappointments and petty criminals, there is nothing soft, or subtle, about it. He should trust his audience more.
60
While McNairy and Mendelsohn are solid but almost too showy, Liotta, Jenkins, Sam Shepard and a chewy supporting cast beautifully fill in the blanks. Killing Them Softly adds each of its characters to a punchy, prosaic tale that believes in America, one way or another.
50
The film, for all its visual felicities, comes to life only sporadically.

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