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Killing Them Softly (2012)

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Jackie Cogan is an enforcer hired to restore order after three dumb guys rob a Mob protected card game, causing the local criminal economy to collapse.


Andrew Dominik


Andrew Dominik (screenplay), George V. Higgins (based on the novel "Cogan's Trade" by)
4,135 ( 104)
3 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Brad Pitt ... Jackie
Scoot McNairy ... Frankie
Ben Mendelsohn ... Russell
James Gandolfini ... Mickey
Richard Jenkins ... Driver
Vincent Curatola ... Johnny Amato
Ray Liotta ... Markie Trattman
Trevor Long ... Steve Caprio
Max Casella ... Barry Caprio
Sam Shepard ... Dillon
Slaine ... Kenny Gill
Linara Washington ... Hooker
Ross Brodar ... Poker Guy
Wade Allen ... Business Suit Agent
Christopher Berry ... Cab Driver Agent


Three amateurs stickup a Mob protected card game, causing the local criminal economy to collapse. Brad Pitt plays the hitman hired to track them down and restore order. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In America you're on your own


Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, sexual references, pervasive language, and some drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

30 November 2012 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cogan's Trade See more »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,812,900, 2 December 2012, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (rough cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Sam Shepard (Dillon) & Ben Mendelsohn (Russell) also worked together on Bloodline (2015) as Robert Rayburn & Danny Rayburn respectively. See more »


When the brothers Caprio drive upon the road and park at the right side of the road in which Markie Trattmans house is set, a white luxury car is seen on the left side of the road. After a dialogue between the Carpio brothers a next shot of the street is shown when Markie Trattman drives down the road to park at the left side, this white luxury car disappears. See more »


[last lines]
Barack Obama (on TV): [on TV delivering his election victory speech] ... to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth that out of many, we are one.
Driver: You hear that line? Line's for you.
Jackie Cogan: Don't make me laugh. We're one people. It's a myth created by Thomas Jefferson.
Driver: Oh, now you're gonna have a go at Jefferson, huh?
Jackie Cogan: My friend, Jefferson's an American saint because he wrote the words, "All men are created equal." Words he clearly didn't believe, since he allowed his own children to live in...
See more »


Featured in Bad Movie Beatdown: Review of 2012 (2013) See more »


Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams
Written by Lou Reed
Published by Oakfield Avenue Music Ltd (BMI)
Performed by Nico
Courtese of Universal Records
uner license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

Be warned: it's very good, but not perhaps what you are expecting
27 July 2013 | by pfgpowell-1See all my reviews

There is a good case to be made, at least here in Britain, for prosecuting Killing Them Softly under the Trade Descriptions Act. But I for one shan't be on the sideline cheering on the suit. Many, I'm sure, tuned in - went to the flicks, bought the video, watched online illegally - after hearing that Brad Pitt is a hit-man called in to clear up a mess, and they will, most probably, have been disappointed.

Killing The Softly is most certainly not your average gangster flick. It's most telling scene comes right at the end when Pitt, the hit-man, talks to the crooks' lawyer who is there to pay him for for the murders he has committed on behalf of his paymasters. The scene is played out against yet another of those superficially rousing, although, in fact, pretty vacuous Obama speeches long on sentiment but pretty short on anything much else, in which he tries to grab the heart of America in order to garner a few more votes. Such soundbites permeate the film. Pitt's character has heard it all before and then some.

In the final scene he is accused of cynicism by the crooks' lawyer, but in truth - and oddly - he is one the film's most honest characters. He does what he does, looks a situation squarely in the eye, calls a spade a spade and does what he is asked to do. He doesn't try to justify or excuse his dirty work. The rest of the characters, from the two losers, who kick off the whole stupid charade on behalf of another loser who thinks he has a clever plan, to the sap who is bumped off by Pitt for no very good reason but to keep the gambling punters happy and is paying for a past transgression, to the hit-man called in from New York who for one reason or another has lost it and is sent packing, are more or less living in their own dream world. All have a working explanation, none of which, however, is worth a row of beans. Only Pitt, the effective, professional killer sees everything clearly.

It might, though, not be as we would like to see the world. Writer and director Andrew Dominik makes the point that most of us seem to be far happier eschewing the violent, lethal reality of the killer Pitt and instead prefer to accept the anodyne, risk-free, no-smoking, ginger ale world of Obama and his vacuous rhetoric. Remember, it was Obama who gave the green light to the - well, murder - of Osama Bin Laden in a foreign country. Whether or not you agree with what he sanctioned and what was done, one must wonder exactly how much his liberal principles played in the decision to give that assassination the OK. For, whether you think it justified or not, a murder it was.

In a sense Pitt is just Obama without the liberal veneer: he does what he is paid to do - America is business - and is under no illusions as to what he is doing.

So be warned: yes, you'll get lots of tension-building gangster scenes and, yes, you'll get your guts full of gore if that's what you want (and many, of course, do), but Killing The Softly is a million miles away from being the kind of gangster flick you (and my son, who started watching it with me, but gave up halfway through) expect. The point it makes - and even 'making a point' will lose it Brownie points with many punters - is not particularly original or profound, but, for this punter at least, Dominik has made a thoroughly entertaining and watchable movie, much as he made with The Assassination Of Jesse James... which also starred Brad Pitt.

PS. I like and have always like Brad Pitt, a very gifted actor (his appearance in Inglourious Basterds is nothing but an aberration and is Tarantinos' cock-up, not his). I should like to seem him demonstrate his talents in a more 'talky, stagy' film. I am confident he could do it.

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