Killing Them Softly features Brad Pitt as Jackie Cogan, a mob enforcer who goes on the prowl when small-time crooks (Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn) rob a mob-backed poker game. In the trailer, Cogan’s a seasoned veteran of the trade with a well-oiled technique for manipulation of the aforementioned criminals (both in way over their heads).
The film’s practically an Expendables-style roundup of iconic screen mobsters and grizzled character actors, including Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, and Sam Shepard (all of these fine gentlemen make an appearance in the promo for Killing Them Softly). Moreover, the mood, atmosphere, and style of the trailer footage is the handiwork of Andrew Dominik’s steady directing hand, working from his script adaptation of George V. Higgins’ 1974 novel, Cogan’s Trade.
Dominik and Pitt collaborated before on The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford; Killing Them Softly (which premiered at Cannes this year) is prompting similar love/hate reactions. Most of the film’s “action scenes” amount to charged conversations between characters hanging out in seedy clubs, hotel rooms, and vintage automobiles (with some of those talks culminating in bloody carnage).
Early buzz also paints Killing Them Softly as a contemplative (at time, mediative) examination of American capitalism, opening with a Barack Obama speech excerpt and featuring dialogue like Cogan’s trailer line about “living in America.” People who only watch the theatrical promo might walk away disappointed when the final film turns out fewer scenery-chewing performances and thrills (in favor of quiet, thoughtful, storytelling).
Several cinephiles who’ve seen Killing Them Softly are comparing it to last year’s Drive, and it’s easy to see why. The pair feature similar (sorta) misleading trailers, are contemporary treatments of Noir genre fare that feels lifted from a previous decade, and are the result of an auteur’s unique interpretation of a traditional pulpy crime story. Of course, we loved Drive, so if Killing Them Softly is a chip off the same block, that’s fine by us.
It’s also worth mentioning: Killing Them Softly is funded by emerging powerhouse producer Megan Ellison, who’s behind the latest films from directors John Hillcoat (Lawless), Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master), and Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty). Dominik’s project should be something memorable, if the company it keeps is any sign.
Killing Them Softly opens in theaters on October 19th, 2012.
Source: The Huffington Post