Killing Them Softly (2012)
My first viewing of Killing Them Softly was something of a letdown, as excited as I was for it. I went to the cinema to see it with an ex and we were twenty minutes late for the film because we were arguing. Probably about her proclivity for shagging around. Anyway, missing the start and the icy atmosphere meant I had less than fond memories of the film for a while.
As this recent viewing goes to show, though, your mood and environment really do colour your enjoyment of a film. It is easy to say a film is bad rather than admit that, say, your girlfriend is a slapper.
Killing Them Softly has a lot of political backdrop and symbolism - speeches in the background about financial systems and a strong theme of money, processes and debts owed and collected. It’s all perhaps a little too on the nose, but who goes into a film like this for subtext? I want bodies! Having said that, the backdrop rather adds to what could be a much less entertaining and straightforward film.
Based on George V. Higgins’ Cogan’s Trade- which from its description sounds as if it has fewer layers to it than Killing Them Softly but that’s pure speculation as I haven’t read it. In fact, fuck it you don’t know that.*Clears throat* I’ve read Cogan’s Trade and the filmmakers really added depth to the original text yada yada yada.
Directed by Andrew Dominik, a favourite of mine since his (and Eric Bana’s) breakout hit Chopper, Killing Them Softly boasts a fantastic cast. I'm going to single out James Gandolfini here. Appearing in one of his last roles as a drunk, philandering hitman, crudely and blatantly rinsing a job for every cent he can, the late, great Gandolfini is particularly brilliant. But then when wasn’t he.
The action, when it goes down, is satisfyingly stylish and brutal. As double crosses are made and debts in blood and coin collected, I realised I do really like Killing Them Softly. Oh and did I mention they added depth to the original text? They really did, it’s wonderfully clever that added depth to the text. I spotted that depth, me alone!
Bedsit it? The brevity of Killing Them Softly is a little surprising given it’s apparently not cool to make a film under two hours long anymore. Rewatchability bumps it up from “Yeah whatever he’s just a 'friend who stayed over'” to 8/10