Killing Them Softly (2012)

Admittedly the movie has a very good 30 min final act. But until I got there I was suffocated by a monotonous approach and an oversampling of style and pretense. Let me explain why. From start to finish I got bombarded with a relentless use of image and sound, deep in low life garbage and diminutive talk. While I witnessed hyper graphic violent scenes with Ray Liotta having his teeth knocked out and being beaten to near death by two black leathered dealers and while I viewed his puke coming out of his blooded mouth in super slow motion I was then treated musically with a bunch of melodically anachronistic songs which reminded to me as the director intended or as the director thought he had an obligation to “remind”, that all this was pure sarcasm. “Hey we’re just watching a movie you film aficionados “. This kind of juxtaposition of violence followed musically by songs that underline a contradictory note is not an original approach. I have seen this many times before especially through the expert hands of another blood driven director by the name of Martin Scorsese. Secondly the point is why are we as an audience being martyrs of pointlessly brutal scenes like the aforementioned while on the same hand I am being beaten to death with cliches of playback music over the narration. Andrew Dominique had disappointed me with his overtly subdued western The Assassination of Jesse James. While in Killing Them Softly he has made stylistic choices which bring out a very “cool” movie to watch as far as the images are concerned he pretends about the whole thing. His visuals seem narcissistic that almost shout to themselves about their artiness. The screenplay lacks a certain conviction and in that regard his images lack truthfulness. This movie does not carry a human heart. I know. That was the whole point. To show a cold, black world. But I wonder really. What’s the point of listening to a relentlessly vulgar speech of James Gandolfini about how much he fucks his whores and other worthy words of his main character negligible of notice. Or why do we have to watch at Ben Mendelsohn’s detailed again in slow motion dive at hardcore drugs with shots that reveal to us how he injects the needle inside his bruised arm and sucks his own blood. I’m pretty sure there are a lot of film buffs out there who have fallen in love with the picture’s de-touched, slickly and ultra refined style as well as the hard talk dialogue and over-boiled shots. I’m also quite sure there are a lot of critics who praise the movie for its “smart” political innuendos and “underlying” driving force. At the end of the film I listened exactly that. Brad Pitt’s small monologue about America’s political and economical corruption. But in the meantime I had been stuffed in the mouth with every possible nuance of decrement that the director had thought up and then I was served with life lessons from the story’s main killer.  Bad joke.

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