Killing them Softly
With The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford director Andrew Dominik had delivered a true top movie in which Brad Pitt got to shine in the lead role. When it became known the same director would again meet up with Pitt for another not-your-run-of-the-mill thriller, but this time set in current day gangster time we were immediately anxious to see the result.
The story as such is reasonably simple: some no-goods get hired to raid a mob-organised poker game and take all money present. No fool would dare do this, if it weren’t that the game’s organiser, Markie Trattman, had recently done something similar and gotten away with it. Back in the day Markie robbed his own game and managed to withstand the “internal interrogation” so when he recently confessed nobody really made much out of it. Now that Markie is organising a new game, however, people will immediately look at him and not look further. At least, that’s the idea.
As such, the robbery happens and as expected Markie gets grilled. However, this time it isn’t the usual “interrogater” on duty, Dillon, doing the investigation but Jackie (Pitt). And Jackie doesn’t believe Markie is thàt stupid. He quickly finds out what’s really happened but as he doesn’t like killing people who are close to him he gets Mickey (Gandolfini) to come over to do the deed before the criminal circuit is hurt too much by the fallout of the robbery. Mickey, however, has his own demons to fight, making Jackie having to take matters in his own hands after all…
As you can read, the setup in Killing them Softly is just a subject to which personal events are hung on. As such you shouldn’t expect long shootouts, chase scenes or rock solid action a la Die Hard. Killing them Softly actually has a very appropriate name: very gently and softly you’re taken by the hand and lead towards the inevitable ending that may not drop like a bomb, but does perfectly fit the atmosphere and style of this movie.
Pitt, Gandolfini, Liotta and the rest of the cast do a very nice job and the only thing we may give as a small downpoint is that not everyone will be as pleased as us with the slow pace and lack of real action. If you don’t bother with that, then this gangster story that shows the little sides in men during a time of economic crisis (and it isn’t a pretty image) will most definitely appeal to you.
The image is rather dark of nature but does show all detail. The transfer is free from compression errors but the shadow detail at times disappoints a bit although the majority of viewers won’t actually pay attention to that. Also there’s a small amount of edge enhancement used but not too disturbing. The little bit of grain that you can see nicely fits with the raw image of the movie and this also goes for the sometimes soft look of certain scenes which isn’t due to the transfer but an actual decision from the makers.
Qua sound we mostly notice that although the movie is focused on dialogue, the DTS-HD track does use the surround channels whenever possible. This mostly for background sounds and creation of atmosphere like with rain drops, cars driving by and glass falling.