Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Killing them softly

Killing them softly is perhaps the strangest film I've seen this year.

You would think Killing them softly is a gangster film and you'd be correct. However, unlike most gangster films, there is very little action in Killing them softly. Instead, there is a lot of dialogue, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Just that there's a bit of cognitive dissonance because you keep expecting violent mob action but you get the godfather version of the joy luck club instead. 

In reality, Killing them softly is less about the mob or organised crime than it is about a bunch of seriously dysfunctional and incompetent people. Except for Bradd Pitts character who actually seems like the only 'sane' person in the entire show, but then he kills people for a living so he's obviously not totally all there either. His issues just show up less since he's also the most competent person in the story (but hey, Brad Pitt is directing so go figure)

There's very little tension in the movie and no gun fights at all. Instead, it's really about Brad Pitt's character killing who he needs to kill, simply, quickly and without fuss. The characters are at least more fleshed out than the standard mob flick, which makes them interesting.

There's also all the political commentary in the background, since the movie is set during the US presidential elections of  2008. Every single time you cut to another scene, there's always some sort of dialogue on the radio or tv pertaining to the candidates or the elections. It kind of gets annoying after a while. There's also the part where Brad Pitts character at the end talks about how a sense of community is useless, and how America is a corporation and how everyone is out in it for themselves. And you have to realise, there is some heavy meta commentary here since Brad Pitt's character IS competent, but he's also somewhat of a sociopath and a stone cold killer. Then you realise the other person; who's also a criminal, endorses the sense of community but is STILL part of the organised mob, leaving you to think 'hey both sides are crap'.

So overall, decent film but it's totally different from what its promotional posters would imply. A major downer would be that it ends in a very weird spot, with Brad's character basically telling the other guy to give him the money he's owed and then cut to credits. Wth?