December 8, 2012

Killing Them Softly

A self-indulgent, smug, talky gangster movie. Think Tarantino minus the humor, but keep the brutal, gruesome violence intact.
Kiwi director Andrew Dominik must feel damn lucky that Brad Pitt likes making arty movies- Dominik wouldn't have a career if Pitt didn't agree to star in this movie, and his previous feature, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007). As it is, Dominik treats Pitt's character lovingly, giving him all the great music cues, all the best lines, and his character, self-confident hitman Jackie, seemingly all-knowing and perfect.
Scoot McNairy wins my Breakout Performer award for his terrific performance in this movie, plus his role as one of the American Embassy workers hiding out in Argo. His three-time clueless loser crook is pathetic, but he has one powerful scene where Brad Pitt's hitman talks him into betraying his fellow thieves with the illusion of sparing his own life.
Between the too-cool songs on the soundtrack, the endless monologues which lead nowhere, and the pointless slow-motion murder sequence, I was rolling my eyes when I wasn't dozing off. C-minus. West Newton Cinema, with a very well-behaved crowd (for a change.)