Generally favorable reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 42
  2. Negative: 2 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Nov 28, 2012
    Killing them Softly is a lurid and nasty little nihilistic hitman noir, with an ingenuity that sneaks up on you.
  2. Reviewed by: Kevin Jagernauth
    Sep 3, 2012
    Uncompromising and uncommercial, divisive and brave, Killing Them Softly bitterly boils at the state of the nation.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Sep 3, 2012
    The film is terribly smart in every respect, with ne'er-a-false note performances and superb craft work from top to bottom.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Sep 3, 2012
    This is an unrepentantly cynical take on the hope-and-change promised to the US in 2008; this year's election race makes it look even bleaker, an icily confident black comedy of continued disillusion.
  5. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Nov 29, 2012
    Jolting, suspenseful, full of twisted sympathy for its goons' row of characters, and wickedly amusing to boot, Killing Them Softly summons up the ghosts of "Goodfellas" and a whole nasty tradition of crime pics. And then it lets its ghosts go, whacking and thwacking away.
  6. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Nov 29, 2012
    A bleakly comic, brutally Darwinian gangland saga that at times comes close to being this year's "Drive." It also does something that, if you're from around these parts, seems downright perverse. It takes the Boston out of George V. Higgins.
  7. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Nov 29, 2012
    Even some who generally enjoy gangster films may be turned off by this one, with its focus on dialogue over action and its harsh style.
  8. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Nov 30, 2012
    The dialogue is sharp and so are the performances. Andrew Dominik directed this neo-noir in a low-key comic style that's alternately gritty and fancy. The gritty stuff is best.
  9. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Nov 29, 2012
    The movie isn't political so much as philosophical, trashing the notion of the American dream as anything more than fodder for an endless rat race.
  10. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Nov 28, 2012
    For a genre film, Killing Them Softly goes to an awfully strange, none-too-subtle place, but the choice to move the '08 election from background to overlay is unusually bold and thought-provoking, too.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 225 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 75
  2. Negative: 21 out of 75
  1. Dec 4, 2012
    This is the absolute worst movie I've seen in a few years. The movie thinks it's clever, but it's not. It's hammering its point about it all being some kind of metaphor for the economic crisis home so hard I doubt even the biggest idiot could miss it.
    Then there's the dialogue. Oh my dear lord the dialogue. Sometimes inane banter in a movie is fun. Or good. Or both. Or it serves to really flesh out the character. They have to be actually interesting or fun in order to pull that off. That way, the dialogues won't feel like they're nine damn hours long.
    The action is of course not the point of a movie like this, but it's very well executed, I have to admit. It looks beautiful, realistic and brutal. But by the time you get to one of these scenes, you just don't care any more. You hate the movie for what it put you through so far. You want it to be over.
    Only film snobs will like this. They will claim you are not intelligent enough to 'get' this movie. The truth is everyone gets it. And sometimes, just sometimes, a movie just is really, really, really dull. Not clever. Dull.
    Full Review »
  2. Dec 29, 2012
    In summary : a below average crime-noir with some dark-comedy elements, and some not-so-subtle social criticism. I think the movie's plot (which was rather thick) was stretched to fill a 90 minutes movie, while in reality the movie would be much better as a short film, with around 60 minutes running time. I think the movie was overlong with unnecessary conversations between Brad Pitt's and James Gandolfini's character, The social criticism in the movie was straight to your face. I felt the director wanted to force his views on the viewer again and again on the most pretentious ways (on every television screen or radio people were watching or listening to the president and the candidate's speeches). The acting was good (especially Ben Mendelsohn). The camera works and CGI sometimes felt forced, like the director tried to be "modern" with the slo-motion scenes for example. I think a more "classic" visual approach would suit the rather simple story better. It certainly will not be my favourite movie this year. Full Review »
  3. Dec 12, 2012
    Well written and articulate I would imagine this is not the film a lot of people were expecting. I know I wasn't, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the end result. Director Andrew Dominik has certainly got a way with actors and imagery and the film is both stylish and very well acted. Ben mendelsohn is delicious in his drugged out supporting turn and the film's opening scene just grabbed me and then never let go. Full Review »