Yet another great film being given a bad name by "reviewers trying to do us a favour" (really??? like you're a shepherd and we're all sheep here???). If you're going to read a review, here's one that speaks in all fairness and without trying to glorify it.
'Killing Them Softly' is a contemporary multi-narrative crime drama that oversees what crime has become to the mafia since we've seen what years of recession have done to America, post 9/11. It's a film you have to settle into and to watch and listen carefully, yet it provides us with storytelling style very similar to the likes of Quentin Tarantino and classic Danny Boyle.
It also makes good use of some classic conventions and you may notice a little bit of Mean Streets, Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, Chopper, Pulp Fiction, Trainspotting etc.
When ex-convict Frankie and his Australian heroin-addict friend Russell are employed to hold up a mafia poker game in their rundown dead end town, they get away with it, though causing the local economy to collapse and putting mob boss Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta) in the frame.
The dons send mob enforcer Jackie (Brad Pitt) over to deal with it and to set an example, he methodically sets about cleaning up in due fashion.
That is the plot, pure and simple, but aside from that, 'Killing Them Softly' is more a film about the bleak, harsh reality of crime in the modern day American towns that the government has all but abandoned and it is therefore about the sheer dead-end desperation of a certain breed of people.
Unemployment, recession, drug addiction, violence, desperation, failing health, wilful self-destruction and the disgusting manner in which people regard each other with - it all adds up to one great stark reality. The only way that the government has succeeded in destroying organised crime is by destroying its own country's economy. Desperate people will do anything to survive knowing that, if they give up, they are as good as dead. And that sets the tone for this movie from beginning to end.
Not surprisingly in hindsight, this film has no real lead characters, but universally supporting characters that serve the story until its bitter ending where we are treated to a summary in words between two characters. This helps to give a sense that nobody is of any real importance to each other, which is true to the nature of most of its characters.
If you like your crime movies real, you'll love this. I'm so surprised at how seamless it is, and also how easy it is to watch despite how well acted and intense it becomes. Dark, gritty, grimy, filthy, absurd, depressing and yet bold with a few good laughs!
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