Killing Them Softly (2012)

Just a quick review, I am off to see Jurassic Park in IMAX 3D soon so I don’t have a lot of time. Enjoy!


All this time has passed since its release and I am still not dead set on how I feel about Killing Them Softly. It is definitely one of the more questionable releases of 2012 as it never did fully live up to expectations. Boasting a strong cast, clever, politically driven material, and a respected director. Killing Them Softly was hotly anticipated but through this, was arguably set up for failure. However, it isn’t the complete disaster most have made it out to be.  The glaring inconsistency with Killing The Softly is it cannot balance as it sits on the fence. There isn’t any issue with a film digging depth under its superficial exterior. But the accuracy and ferociousness of its violence, abuse, both mentally and physically overshadows its economic message to the point of abandonment. Killing Them Softly is a taste of blunt force, dark comedy, and political satire, but doesn’t lean on their cohesiveness. Instead, it lets each trait trail into independent dependency.


The criminal economy crashes when three masked man steal the cash from unsanctioned card games in the local area. The men work for Trattman (Liotta), who also runs the games. When time passes, Trattman reveals that he was the one who robbed his own event. When the games are raided again by Frankie (McNairy) and Russell (Mendelsohn), the assumption is that Trattman has repeated his actions. Jackie (Pitt) is called in by the mafia and is informed by Driver (Jenkins), who works for the organization of the situation. Knowing he needs to regain the confidence of the local crime organizations and find the culprits of the second robbery, Jackie sets out to restore balance.


I can’t deny that Killing Them Softly’s intriguing premise, bleak hilarity, and unrelenting brutality isn’t enough to save it from tumbling into a mediocrity inferno, because it is. The dark, sometimes raunchy laughs and detail in the onslaught are the most consistent aspects of the entire film. While the political influence is present throughout, its relevance and effect are limited. Top performers are Ben Mendelsohn, Scoot McNairy, and obviously Brad Pitt. McNairy and Mendelsohn are a hilarious duo who, despite the similarities, are quite the contrast. Pitt once again makes everything appear effortless. Andrew Dominik does an interesting job behind the camera. At times it feels as if he is completely lost, but redeems himself with slowed, atmospheric shots and unique angles. Killing Them Softly might not be the crime drama everyone envisioned. But its economic stance, fierceness, and satirical comedy put it a notch above most thrillers.


Killing Them Softly: 7.5 out of 10.

About Joseph@thecinemamonster

Aspiring writer who absolutely adores film and television.

Posted on April 7, 2013, in Thriller and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Jurassic Park Imax 3D? You lucky lucky man, that sounds like the best thing ever! Good review by the way

  2. I was going to write something about KTS, but I think my feelings were pretty much bang on with yours. I was expecting so much more after watching Assassination of Jessie James the other week. That film was amazing. One of the best films I’ve ever seen. Yes, Killing Them Softly was much better than the generic thrillers we get from Hollywood, but it didn’t hit the heights of Assassination! Great review.

    • Thanks! KTS had some moments that stuck with me long after I watched it. Especially the sequence where Pitt is armed at the traffic light with the slow, epic music playing, really hypnotized me.

  3. Nice review! The movie doesn’t have all the exciting moments that most people probably wanted, but I found very little wrong with it really. Glad you enjoyed it for the most part.
    IMAX 3D Jurassic Park sounds great!

    • Thank you! There isn’t a lot wrong with it, I just felt throughout the movie that I was waiting for something. I don’t know what, it felt unfulfilled, that’s all. Anyway, Jurassic Park was amazing, I’ll have my review up soon!

  4. Glad to hear your positivity on this one, man. I really liked it and was a bit disappointed that so many people criticised it. The performances were superb and I didn’t mind it’s socio-political overtones.

  5. nice review! Glad it worked for you. I have a fondness for this one, despite its flaws (the contrived allegory sequences and the Gandolfini subplot that I loved but went nowhere). But a crime movie with some substance and something to say is better than one with none at all! W

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