‘Killing Them Softly’ Kills Audience Interest

Nathan Fisher

For my last review of the semester I wanted to go out with a bang, so I mistakenly picked Brad Pitt’s new movie, “Killing Them Softly.” Unfortunately, my “Ocean’s Eleven” star couldn’t save the film, and I’m left closing out the semester with a dud.

“Killing Them Softly” is a slow-paced crime drama with spurts of action. Three down-and-out losers think they have found the perfect score when they hear about a Mafia poker game run by Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta). Several years before the story begins, Trattman robbed his own card game and stupidly admitted to the fact later after a few too many drinks. When the three druggie amigos hear this tale, they figure if the game were robbed again, everyone would think Trattman was the culprit.

After the Mafia card game is robbed, the Mafia chief calls in Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt), an enforcer who is hired to track, find and possibly kill. After getting permission from Driver (Richard Jenkins), the Mafia’s in-between, Jackie brings in Mickey (James Gandolfini), a more experienced hit man, for help. Mickey is only interested in ladies and booze, and is more trouble than Jackie needs as he tries to restore order to the Mafia.

“Killing Them Softly” slowly kills the patience of the audience as it tries too hard to tie together the United States’ economic crisis during the 2008 presidential election and the Mafia’s business. The splicing in of snippets of President Bush and President Obama talking about the economy throughout the film is distracting and disjointed. The movie grinds on until about the 90-minute mark, when Pitt has an amazing monologue and the movie seems to finally hit its stride. Nope, not to be: Then the credits started rolling, the movie was over, and I was left unsatisfied.

“Killing Them Softly” is a talkative movie filled with lingering, drawn-out scenes. The movie’s saving grace were the all-star performances by Gandolfini and Jenkins, and especially Pitt’s effortless portrayal of a slick enforcer. Even with Pitt’s top-notch performance, “Killing Them Softly” did not deliver the bang I expected and was just not an enjoyable movie to watch. Guess I will just have to wait until next week’s midnight premiere of “The Hobbit”––based on the previews, I won’t be disappointed.