Killing Them Softly Review – Is Brad bad?

Directed by Andrew Dominik

Starring Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ben Mendelsohn and Scoot McNairy

Is Brad bad? The answer is YES, but in a good way. Brad Pitt plays the scary hit man Jackie Cogan in Andrew Dominik’s dark crime comedy Killing Them Softly. Pitt is excellent and despite his reputation as a heartthrob, his portrayal of Cogan clearly demonstrates his versatility as an actor. In the same vein as Javier Bardam in No Country For Old Men and Matthew McConaughey in Killer Joe, Pitt embodies pure ruthless villainy as the enforcer sent by the mob to track down the thieves who stole mob cash at a poker game managed by Ray Liotta’s Marky Trattman.

Frankie and RussellScoot McNairy and Australian tour de force Ben Mendelsohn, recently seen as a corrupt CEO in The Dark Knight Rises, play Frankie and Russell. These two low-life criminals take on the job from Vincent Curatola’s Johnny aka the Squirrel of robbing the mob poker game. Johnny believes that this will be a sure fire hit as a few years ago Trattman (Liotta) who runs the games for the mob, orchestrated a fake robbery of a game to claim the money for himself. The mob are bound to think that Trattman has done it again and whack him whist Johnny, Frankie and Russell get away with thousands of dollars. Of course their scheme doesn’t go quite to plan and in comes Richard Jenkins as mob representative, Driver, who hires Pitt and James Gandolfini (as a sex obsessed, drunk New York Mickey) to ‘take out’ the culprits. Twists and turns in the plot follow, including, Russell stealing pedigree dogs to sell in Florida, exploding dog-poop filled cars, severe beatings and lots of dark humour, end in horrific deaths and mob-style retribution. The movie is set during the 2008 presidential election campaign and at a time when the financial recession has hit the US economy hard, it means that even hit-men have to lower their prices to make ends meet.

Ben Mendelsohn As well as Pitt’s electrifying performance and great acting by Liotta and Gandolfini, the star of the show has to be Mendelsohn. He is funny, crude and sympathetic as a low-life trying to make a quick dollar. One scene includes a drug-filled hilarious conversation between Frankie and Russell that will have viewers in stitches and also wanting to shout at the screen. 

The cinematography is great and Dominik has managed to portray the dirty side of the good old USA in a rich style without over doing it.

Fans of great, raw, independent movies such as Killer Joe, will love this and will enjoy the award-worthy performances of the central cast members.

Brad is bad in a VERY good way!

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