When people think of gangster movies, they typically think of movies like Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas (1990) or Casino (1995), which happens to be on of the top casino movies of all time as well. However, Andrew Dominik’s latest feature, entitled Killing Them Softly (2012), could quickly rise to prominence as a cult favourite among lovers of gangster movies.
Brad Pitt stars as Jackie Cogan, a professional hitman that likes to kill his targets from a distance because he does not like the emotional baggage they tend to throw at him. He calls this approach “killing them softly.” Cogan was called to take care of two young punks that had the nerve to rob a local underground poker game of over $100,000.
Pitt convinces the man funding the hit to hire his buddy Mickey, played by James Gandolfini, to assist him in the hit. However, things do not turn out like they should as Mickey no longer appears to be able to carry out hits like he use to in the past and would rather play casino games and enjoy retirement. Cogan must instead employ other measures to take care of the crooks.
Killing Them Softly has been described as both a blackly comic gangster film and a gritty crime drama. However, the film is also said to have heavy political undertones. Regardless of how the Dominik’s latest is viewed, one thing that viewers can expect is plenty of action and lot of violence – so much so that Pitt was actually asked whether he had any problems with the violence seeing that he was a father now.
According to an interview that Pitt gave regarding his latest role, when asked whether the violence bothered him, he said “Not in any way, because murder is an accepted possibility when you’re dealing in crime. I would have a much harder time playing a racist or something along those lines. That would be much more unsettling for me than a guy who shoots another guy in the face.”
Whether Killing Them Softly will become this decade’s Goodfellas or become the latest in a long line of action duds remains to be seen. The film was originally screened at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year and has had mixed reviews by critics, but fans will get their own chance to check out the film starting on 21 September.
Follow this link to read our Cannes review of Dominik’s Killing Them Softly.