Sunday, 11 August 2013

Film Review: KILLING THEM SOFTLY (2012)

Killing Them Softly - poster Director: Andrew Dominik
Writers: Andrew Dominik (screenplay), George V. Higgins (based on his novel, “Cogan’s Trade”)
Running time: 97 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Crime/Thriller
UK Release date: 21st September 2012

Watched on DVD Sunday 11th August 2013.


I have to admit that I didn’t know an awful lot about this one going in. I had a vague recollection of it being reviewed quite well, but with reservations. A friend of mine had seen it and he didn’t particularly like it, but I wasn’t about to let that put me off (he’s steered me wrong before). It’s certainly an interesting film with much in its favour. I can see how it may not be to everyone’s taste but I felt I probably got more out of it than most (maybe). Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Killing Them Softly - 7 It all hinges on the robbery of a card game. The perpetrators are Frankie (Scoot McNairy) and Russell (Ben Mendelsohn) and they were sent by Johnny Amato (Vincent Curatola). Now, the game was being run by Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta), who has had trouble like this before and so it was felt any heat would fall on him. Of course the robbery goes down and they get away. The bosses aren’t happy and they send in Jackie (Brad Pitt) to sort it out. He liaises with Driver (Richard Jenkins), who seems to be a kind of middle man. They have a difference of opinion about how to proceed and Jackie ends up bringing in another hit man from New York, Mickey (James Gandolfini). This proves less than successful, for reasons I won’t go into here, and Jackie ends up doing the job himself. But will it go as smoothly as he expects?

Killing Them Softly - 6 I liked the way the film started with a very bleak and down-to earth approach to the whole set-up. Some interesting low-life characters planning a robbery always catches my attention. If anything, it steps up a gear when Brad Pitt enters the scene and I’m really beginning to get into it. Sadly, it wasn’t to last, when the James Gandolfini character appears it does take a bit of a dive. He seems a bit of a wasted character; only there to pad the thing out a bit. It’s a shame because I really liked Gandolfini as an actor and felt this was not a fair reflection of his talent. Some very interesting effects were used and I found these very interesting. The use of slow motion in one particular assassination scene was quite breathtaking. There is also a scene depicting the world from a drug addict’s point of view that looked pretty strange too. Over all, it’s one of those that I think I’ll have to watch again to fully appreciate. For now, I liked it, but didn’t fall in love with it; I’m sure a future viewing may fix that one way or the other.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.2/10.

IMDb Score: 6.3/10 (based on 69,545 votes when this review was written).

MetaScore: 64/100: (Based on 42 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

Killing Them Softly - 3 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 75/100 (based on 210 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 45/100 (based on 115,903 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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