The Movie: 8/10
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called “life”. Electric word, life. It means forever and that’s a mighty long time……in this life things are much harder than in the after-world. In this life, you’re on your own, and if the elevator tries to bring you down, go crazy.
Does that sound familiar? Of course it does, if you are of the generation I currently exist in you know exactly what that is. The thing is, I won’t say what it actually is so it will seem somewhat confusing to people who will think it has anything whatsoever to do with this movie:) Why did I take the time and effort to place it in this review? The vibe of (arguably) the lead character of Killing Them Softly simply screams the portion of the lyrical speech above. If that lead character were to intensely speak those words in an interaction with one of the other intense characters it would seem completely right on. Imagine Brad Pitt, serious and a little pissed off, taking a deep breath and looking menacing at some dude while saying those notorious words. Yea, that’s the kind of movie this is.
Killing Them Softly does address the economic crisis a few years ago, sure. It’s in the background in news clips and the interaction between the organized criminals reflects the same money breakdown. I didn’t really focus on that part though, and yes, that’s what the director/writer will say is the main concept behind the story. OK, but for me it’s more about those intense moments of conversation. They tell each other about themselves through episodes of their pasts, some very unsavory tales to be sure. These stories are told naturally, slowly, beautifully folded into normal moments of either passing time or just uncomplicated human interaction under extremely complicated circumstances. I don’t want to give much away about the story or the world they live in, that’s for you to discover while you watch the movie.
What I felt during the movie was a constant sense of danger, tension, impending doom. I like that. Happy stories are fine, but I prefer the gutsy stuff, most of the time. I don’t appreciate the violence so much, however I completely understand the context. The thing is, when the director says he is not glamorizing it, he totally is. How can any male person of our species say that making s fight scene really violent, slow motion, dramatic lighting, and with the guttural sounds we can imagine are real is NOT glamorizing or tantalizing the other males watching the thing? It’s hilarious when they seem to truly believe that they are showing the horrors of violence, while they are actually titillating that DNA in whoever wants to beat the crap out of someone for no good reason. That’s not to say it is not cinematic, shocking, and makes me almost have that visceral response that some movies can achieve by grabbing parts of our brains and rattling the real feelings through nothing more than images, sounds, and ideas. I liked it.
The cast is what it is, classy folks doing an amazing job of being who they are pretending to be, and I’m convinced completely. That is my favorite part of the whole experience of watching this movie. The dudes, and yes, it’s all dudes, have done nothing less than become their characters and fell into their situations, moments, dialogue with no hiccup at all. Mesmerizing.
The music is hidden in plain site, which is just right for the skulduggery happening in these peoples’ lives. It’s powerful and subtle and leads a very specific set of emotions, responses, and satisfaction. The clothes are sometimes noisy, all that leather, which is a bit unsettling but fits these guys’ personalities in the way we would expect. And then we have the overall pacing and editing of the movie. It’s always amazing to me when I get lost in a movie, sometimes it’s hard to explain why, which is my favorite way. Killing Them Softly has that. The methodical pacing, the deliberately candid and slowly delivered conversations, mixed with those scenes of unsettling violence or other shows of power, make for such an exhilarating contrast that the whole thing lasts a long time in my mind and that’s the ideal thing for a movie I’m really enjoying (if that’s the right word for some of these scenes).
Overall I say mega grown up brains can handle this movie, no problem. Anyone under the age of 28, and with a penis, might be a bit cautious about watching it. I’m just saying, it might spark something you don’t like inside your self so wait until you are mature enough….make that 35 years old. 🙂 It’s a must see if you are a Brad Pitt fan or James Gandolfini lover. These two performers continue to earn my respect, Pitt had it already, Gandolfini is earning it SLOWLY. Every thing else is more than a beat’em up here and there, it’s a thinker movie if you let it soak a while in the back of your brain and write a review a few days later…..can’t think about it if you don’t watch it.
- The Making Of Killing Them Softly – Not really a making of as it only lasts 5 minutes. Still it has some interesting talk with the cast and director. Strangely though Brad Pitt is absent in these extras.
- Deleted Scenes – A few deleted scenes none of which add anything to the movie.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 3/10
I don’t like the cover. It’s boring and does not represent the movie goodness inside. I would not have it, or probably any image from the movie as a poster. NOT because I don’t like the movie, I really really like the movie, but it just doesn’t require that I have a visual representation of it in my home.
Audio & Video: 7/10
Presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio and utilizing the AVC codec this 1080P transfer looks good but not great. From the outset I noticed a little color banding and some compression artifacts in parts. Aside those technical issues though the movie is a mixture of different cameras and lenses so the results vary wildly, it can go from looking sharp and vibrant to soft and murky from one scene to another. The slow motion high-speed camera sequences used in the movie are amazing though, cinematographer Creig Fraser who also worked on Zero Dark Thirty uses some very interesting camera angles to frame the action.
If you’re looking for a variety of different sound options you will be disappointed. Killing Them Softly ships with a single DTS-HD Master audio track in English language. Dialog which most of this movie comprises of is crisp clear and centered. During the action scenes things become loud and intense just as you would expect. This is a great soundtrack that really does what it is supposed to and that is entertain.
This is a movie that an evening’s rental, bowl of popcorn, bottle of beer, and a comfy couch demands. It’s worth a purchase of you are in love with the cast or the genre. If you want a high quality, even if violent, drama spend the few little dollars and dig in.
Overall Score 8/10