Film Review : Killing Them Softly (2012)

IMDB Score – 6.3
Rotten Tomato Score – 75%

Directed By – Andrew Dominik
Starring – Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins, and Sam Shepard

Jackie Cogan is an enforcer hired to restore order after three dumb guys rob a Mob protected card game, causing the local criminal economy to collapse.

For the record, I did not come up with the synopsis. Three dumb guys? Yes, well they’re dumb, but come on IMDB you can do better than that.

I’m a huge, HUGE fan of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. The film was just a perfectly paced, photographed, and told story and was a perfect piece to complete the trifecta to No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood. If you ever have eight hours to kill, a marathon of those three films is really cool. I’m also a fan of his first film which is the vastly underseen Chopper with Eric Bana. Dominik wrote the screenplay for his newest film based off a novel by George V. Higgins called “Cogan’s Trade”. It ended up being a very conflicted watch for me.

What I liked…

First of all this is a wonderfully cast film. Every single dude in this movie is awesome and it was great seeing them all work together. Mendelsohn ended up stealing every scene but I’m a huge fan of his ever since I saw him in Animal Kingdom. We get a very small but great dose of the late Gandolfini and Pitt was fun as his smart albeit very cynical gangster. I also thought it was a very well shot film with a CRAZY ASS death scene in the middle of the film utilizing slow-mo and CGI that looked great when usually it looks like a bag of crap. The film, which is mostly a dialogue driven film kept my attention the entire time but I may have to admit it was mostly due to the fact that I loved seeing all these actors on screen with each other.

What I didn’t like…

I don’t know what the message was supposed to be. Capitalism is bad? No seriously, that’s the message. I know this because it was SCREAMED at my face for the entire time. It was not subtle in any way. For a film called Killing Them Softly, there was nothing soft or subtle about the way they got their point across. It was also a highly cynical and dark film which is fine when it fits the character but Brad Pitt’s Jackie just seemed to be preaching from the mouth or Dominik most of the time. It got old. I’ve always been a fan of a slow burn so that aspect didn’t bother me at all. It also ended VERY abruptly without tying anything together. It’s almost like they ran out of money. It just didn’t sit well.

Overall I enjoyed the film and it looked great, especially that scene I mentioned earlier. It’s a short 90 minute film so I’d say take a chance on it. The cast is amazing and the directer is promising.


Film Review : The Iceman (2012)

IMDB Score – 6.9
Rotten Tomato Score – 67%

Directed by : Ariel Vromen
Starring : Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Ray Liotta, Chris Evans, James Franco, and David Schwimmer

As a New Jersey native, I have been aware of Richard Kuklinski for some time now. He’s kind of regarded in my area as the boogeyman. We were never told that he wold get us if we were bad but we were definitely told to be careful around our area due to the fact that horrible people exist in this world and that Richard Kuklinski was one of them that was from where we called home. I actual work in an area he would routinely bury bodies. That being said, I’ve see the interviews with the man himself and I’m very impressed with Michael Shannon for his portrayal of the Iceman. Shannon really was the perfect person to play Kuklinski. When you watch teh actual interviews you can just feel how cold (i hate puns) the man really was. His answers and descriptions of how he killed people are chilling (I hate myself) to the bone and Shannon nailed that same expressionless face.

Besides Shannon, the acting was pretty good. Ray Liotta seems to be in this role two times a year now. I guess because he plays the supporting asshole crime boss pretty well. James Franco makes an unusual appearance for a second and Chris Evans was pretty entertaining. The story gets a little washy in the middle and I felt myself just wishing Shannon would kill something again but it rounded out well towards the end.