Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Friday, 30 November 2012 01:00

‘Killing Them Softly’ spins a mesmerizing, violent tale

‘Killing Them Softly’ spins a mesmerizing, violent tale killingthemsoftlymovie.com
Written by Diane Carson
Rate this item
(0 votes)

About this Media...

  • Director: Andrew Dominic
  • Dates: Opens November 30, 2012

A familiar story receives a remarkably engaging, technically impressive presentation in director Andrew Dominic’s “Killing Them Softly.” Two dim-witted, imprudent petty criminals decide to rob a high-stakes mob poker game. A professional hit man arrives to set things straight, meaning retribution for those foolish enough to overstep their bounds.

Numerous elements distinguish “Killing Them Softly” from other violent crime films. To begin, the dialogue sounds fresh and natural coming from well-drawn characters instead of the usual cardboard cutouts. In-charge hit man Jackie expresses thoughts about his role and initiates calm, serious confrontations with the has-been killer Mickey who can’t deliver on his end of the deal. The intermediary between them and the mob, a nameless driver, represents corporate mentality, commenting on mistakes made and necessary “corrections.” It’s involved and involving, especially when the 2008 Obama campaign speeches and President Bush’s pronouncements on financial stability comment none too subtly on this parallel world of corruption.

Second, the acting is nuanced and magnificent: Brad Pitt as Jackie, James Gandolfini as Mickey, Richard Jenkins as the go-between, Ray Liotta as the man running the poker game, and supporting players Ben Mendelsohn and Scoot McNairy. Without any showboating, these smart actors know how to hold a scene and make it sing, listen to each other, and deliver their lines with finesse. It’s a master class to watch Pitt and Gandolfini and Pitt and Jenkins interact and react to each other.

Technically, as detailed in October’s American Cinematographer magazine, D.P. Greig Fraser favors a sharp foreground focus falling into soft, even blurred shadows in the background. His lighting bathes images with muted colors. Fraser creates an impressionistic tone poem as one absolutely stunning killing captures the bullet being shot at 12,000 frames per second. Flashing light and reflections, shattering glass, and slow motion reactions make it intensely beautiful and horrifying, a death dance.

Sound works as effectively: quiet dominates some tense moments while songs comment sardonically. In one scene, the violence sounds and looks “rude and shocking.” It’s repulsive, THE effect Dominic says he wanted.

A counterpoint to American dream rhetoric, “Killing Them Softly” ranks among the finest interrogations of misguided greed. And a masterful director guides its course, right on target. At area theatres.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


Search Parties

Tue September 9

KDHX Recommends

September
Saturday
20

The Thin Dimes at Harvest Sessions 2014

The Thin Dimes at Harvest Sessions 2014 Harvest Sessions welcomes the old-time country blues of the Thin Dimes for this weekend's concert in the park. This free Saturday morning concert series takes place at the Tower Grove Farmers' Market, and runs May through...


September
Saturday
20

Tower of Song: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen and 80th Birthday Party

Tower of Song: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen and 80th Birthday Party Leonard Cohen started out as a poet, and poetry -- ecstatic, spiritual, erotic and political -- suffuses all of his work. When he launched a career as a songwriter and singer in the '60s, only Bob Dylan could match his visionary...


September
Saturday
20

Lee Fields and The Expressions

KDHX welcomes Lee Fields and The Expressions to 2720 Cherokee on Saturday, September 20 at 8pm.   Tickets on sale now at www.ticketweb.com.


Online Users

7 users and 17509 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook