Sunday, November 10, 2013
Movie Review: Killing Them Softly
For those of you who have been reading here for some time you'll know that I watch a fair number of films. Over the past four or so years of writing on this blog I have only left only a single film unfinished once I began watching.
Now make it two. 45 minutes into this film I my wife turned to me and said "Uhhh....the Bruins should still be playing shouldn't they?" and off went the film and on went the hockey game. Maybe the film improved greatly in its last hour and fifteen or so, maybe not. I'll never know because the first 45 were so poor I couldn't take watching any more.
The story supposedly takes place in Boston but was filmed in New Orleans and New Orleans really doesn't look anything like Boston. The characters were supposed to have Boston accents but had versions about those as bad as those of the Californians trying to do Boston accents in those Newman's Own Organics coffee commercials. Brad Pitt only appears in about 3 total minutes of the first 45 and thus lends no assistance here while Ray Liotta plays a giant bloated version of himself and/or his Goodfellas character.
The other characters introduced early on are forgettable and the story tries to be darkly funny (one of the criminals is involved in a stolen pure breed dog for sale racket in which he transports a group of dogs to Florida from Boston in a cramped station wagon--hilarity ensues...) but ends up being a pale imitation of good films like Layer Cake or The Departed.
There is also some attempt here at connecting gambling, the 2008 economic crisis, the '08 election and America being a crooked business vs. a country. George Bush, Obama, and Bernake are all played in the background of various scenes talking about the crumbling financial industry at that point. This is mixed in with the director trying to seem edgy by using Johnny Cash and Velvet Underground songs as a theme. All of it seems a mess, not working to make legit connections or impart a mood.
So though I am generally a big fan of Pitt's films as well as dark, modern, crime dramas...this is one to skip, not just in part but entirely.