Just before his beat-down in the rain by Steve and Barry, Markie is sitting in the back seat of the car, completely dry. In the very next scene, having just stepped out of the car, his hair is plastered to his head and his shirt is soaking wet. See more »
They cry, they plead, they beg, they piss themselves, they cry for their mothers. It gets embarrassing. I like to kill 'em softly. From a distance
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Be warned: it's very good, but not perhaps what you are expecting
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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