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6.0

Mixed or average reviews- based on 225 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 40 out of 225

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  1. Oct 13, 2014
    6
    An average crime movie. Some big name actors from the crime drama genre. They do a good job. But the writing is pretty terrible, and the dialogue reveals this. There is a diatribe from Brad Pitt's character about Thomas Jefferson, The American Revolution, etc. that was kind of goofy. Whoever wrote the dialogue doesn't know history very well. Tax evasion was not a predominant thing on the minds of the U.S. Founding fathers. They were just fronting on that. People that study their history know that the British had given many concessions and taxation was not bad at all. Definitely not by today's standards. If their motivation was money (and to copulate with their slaves while drinking wine) then many of them got a rude awakening. Many prominent revolutionaries went broke. And probably all would have been financially better-off with no revolution. Because war is expensive and bad for business. I don't know why movie writers inject goofy political commentary into their movies. Especially when they mess with history. It often, as with this movie, shows their ignorance. Expand
  2. Oct 6, 2014
    5
    I really liked the trailer and story associated with the film Killing Them Softly, as it appeared to be an original idea in the genre of organized crime. Usually these films are all somewhat similar to The Godfather or Goodfellas, and while that's not a bad thing, I was really interested in seeing something a little different. Killing Them Softly starts out on the right foot, with a daring heist and a bunch of wiseguys left reeling. I was excited and thought this would be a terrific film, but as it continues it really slows down and the story dies right along with it. After a big mafia card game is robbed, the wiseguys want answers and turn to a man named Jackie (Brad Pitt), a problem solver who works under the radar to get the right answers to the right people. Almost as soon as the heist and fallout from it are over, the film goes from an Action Thriller to a painfully slow Drama. Killing Them Softly had all the makings of a great mob movie, the story, an intriguing leading character, and three guys who were in the Sopranos. The beginning was amazing and the ending was pretty good too, but for the hour and a half in the middle, nothing happens, and It was infuriating! We all know what a great actor Brad Pitt can be, especially in this type of role, but his talent is just completely wasted by a Writer who had a beginning, an ending, and no idea in between. Aside from Pitt, the rest of the cast only has brief appearance here and there, except for Scoot McNairy, who you may remember from the awful Science Fiction film, Monster. Since then he's turning up everywhere and I couldn't imagine why, until I saw him here. McNairy plays a good kid, who is caught in the middle, and just wants to survive. He goes through a range of emotions and from side to side as if he were a veteran well beyond his years. What a thrill it must have been for a young actor starting out to show up on the set and be surrounded by the likes of Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, and Ray Liotta! As for the film, the bottom line is this, it has a big cast we all know and love, with a few scenes that will really blow you away, but overall the story is severely lacking in content and just wastes the talent of it's performers. Expand
  3. Jul 30, 2014
    6
    Killing Them Softly is a solid film, but certainly not a good film. The acting is very good here, especially from Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, and Ray Liotta. James Gandolfini is also particularly strong in this one. The direction from Andrew Dominik is very good and the violent sequences are very well directed and the effects put on the shots are very cool to look at. In addition, the political overtones are handled well and the message here is quite clear at the end: screw capitalism. However, beyond all that, the film struggles. The length is just perfect at 90 minutes, because I simply could not imagine it going on any longer. There is a ton of dialogue, but some of it is just honestly not relevant (a good chunk of the dialogue between Pitt and Gandolfini was spent on hookers, which is largely inconsequential and could have been shortened significantly). The dialogue that has more of an application to the film is interesting, well written, and well acted, but the repeated tangents on things that do not have a huge impact is annoying and, as I said, a waste of time. In addition, even with the plot being pretty intriguing, there is just not much going on here. You get what you get and there is not much you are receiving, which is a bummer for sure. Overall, I was not expecting a ton and I did not get a ton either. The acting is great and the direction very good, but I just wish there was something else I could cling onto for this one. Expand
  4. Jun 7, 2014
    6
    Starts off being very captivating and trendy but slowly becomes less exciting and duller as the film progresses. Some of the humour is brilliant in the first half of the film. Ben Mendelsohn stole the show for me with his hilarious ozzy hell bent performance.
  5. May 24, 2014
    8
    Good flick. Economic metaphors aside, its wonderful. Well shot, unique, and entertaining. This movie is fun to watch, its dark, and I like them dark. I don't watch movies with expectations (unlike the majority of negative movie reviewers on this site,) and a lot of people on meta have enormous confirmation bias when it comes to movies. "Oh this is probably going to suck because of x, y, and z." "Hey I was right! I'm so smart." Anyway, watch this movie if you want to have a pleasant, relaxing, dark, and funny two hours. Expand
  6. Apr 1, 2014
    6
    Little disappointing. More action expected. At the end it´s pure negotiation. Simple story, surrounding the death of two people. Good acting, not much to see
  7. Mar 19, 2014
    5
    Killing Them Softly starts out great, with an interesting plot, sharp dialogue, and gritty cinematography. But around the middle parts, the movie starts drifting until it's completely off course and starts to get "all talk" and "no play". From there, the movie turns into James Gandolfini talking about his cheating wife and how many hookers he's had, and the movie gets tedious.
  8. Mar 16, 2014
    3
    Gratuitously obscene dialogue, extremely thin plot and mostly useless violence. However, the main element in that movie that disappointed me was the pseudo-moral about capitalism and the economic crisis that is totally laughable.
  9. Jan 19, 2014
    6
    Killing Them Softly is a slight yet interesting cruise through the world of mob hits that ultimately ends up feeling a bit pointless. The film is well acted but there are too many loose threads that seem either half formed or don't go anywhere. The film also lacks dramatic tension. But then again you have "America is not a country, it's a business. So f***ing pay me." Which is one of the most awesome movie quotes of the last few years. Expand
  10. Dec 6, 2013
    0
    I was truly left breathless after watching this movie. I mean, how bad can a movie be This must have been Brad Pitt's worst role ever, why does he do these movies There is not a single redeeming quality in this movie.
  11. Nov 16, 2013
    10
    Like Glen-Garry Glen Ross? Same brutal portrait of human scum same mamet-like dialog. Same great acting by all participants. Otherwise, stay away because it is like a REAL depressing tale of human frailties greed, stupidity, arrogance, etc. Also, don't think the city is New Orleans. Cold weather northeastern city Boston perhaps. The protaganists are wearing overcoats and appear to be freezing to death at times. Expand
  12. Nov 16, 2013
    10
    10 out of 10 stars. One amazing movie and I was blown away. If you are smart you will get this movie and understand its meaning. If you are dumb u will not like it. If u are dumb stay away.
  13. Nov 5, 2013
    8
    What it is about people who object to intelligent and interesting dialogue? Most of the people on this forum hated the movie for these very reasons. Anyway, to avoid pedantic remarks, let me just get on with this review and say that this was a surprisingly good film that reaffirms good filmmaking. The closing remarks in the bar by Pitt's character summed it all up rather nicely. Not too many movies are able to do this. The reason this movie failed is that not many people in the audience have a clue as what he was saying and the significance of it. Expand
  14. Oct 12, 2013
    4
    This gangster film would have to qualify as neo-noir with its dreamlike sequences, unprovoked violence, bizarre personalities, and absurd eroticism. In this post-Godfather landscape, gangsters are no longer romanticized, and they are no longer as sensitive, intelligent, and handsome as the young Al Pacino. A graphic realism prevails. Cinematic gangsters of the present are sociopaths; they are undereducated and unrefined. And if one or two seem civilized in this film, it is only because they are cold-hearted businessmen who consider gangsterland to be some kind of a corporation, complete with profits, losses, and an executive board of directors. Expenses have to be approved, and so do murders that will do away with troublesome individuals.

    A few naive gangster types who are losers want to pull a heist where they rob a high-stakes card game played regularly by powerful gangster bosses. A previous holdup had been successfully held years earlier, later admitted to by one of the bosses who ran the games, and forgiven by his friends. The clever boys are presuming that if they rob the card players at a second heist, everyone will assume that the crime was carried out by the same boss who had bragged of his profitable caper years ago.

    Enter Brad Pitt as the greatest sociopath of them all, called in to solve the riddle of the robbery, which was pulled off as planned by the bottom-feeding bad boys. Pitt’s character, Jackie, is such a loner that he seems to exist in a vacuum. He has no family, no loyalties, and no lovers--indeed, no sexual needs--and he is simply there to do a job and collect his fee. He also has no personality. He is cruel and unforgiving, devising a plan where he will execute the two suspects as well as the respected boss who was set up to look like a suspect, simply because Jackie wants to tie up all the loose ends. He says he doesn’t like to get emotionally involved with his murders, an understatement since emotionally he acts like a robot, and he prefers to kill his victims “softly” and from a distance. Nevertheless, he then proceeds to do his shootings up close and personal, rapid firing into everybody’s head. This film has scenes that are so violent that it is unwatchable.

    Pitt’s acting talents are strained to their limits, because the ruthless and unemotional void in which Jackie exists is almost beastly and subhuman. Pitt’s range does not extend this far. The movie has artistic pretensions, and while Jackie goes about the business of subverting justice with vendettas, in the background are repeated radio and television broadcasts of Obama’s idealism and campaign promises of 2008. Presumably a stark contrast to this drugged, crazed, and violent underworld, the film’s message is juxtaposed in such unrelentingly harsh images that it becomes absurdly obscene.

    The ending is enigmatic, leaving off practically mid-sentence with no real resolution. Another attempt at cinematic artistry, the last scene falls flat with its misguided anti-patriotism. “America’s not a country; it’s just a business. Now f***ing pay me,” says Pitt’s character. The credits start rolling and we’ll never know if he got paid or not, nor do we care.
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  15. Sep 25, 2013
    6
    Strong performances from the lead characters, the pity is the story is quite dull and has been seen all before. Entertaining, but feels more like an expensive made for TV movie.
  16. Sep 5, 2013
    8
    I liked the way the film started with a very bleak and down-to earth approach to the whole set-up. Some interesting low-life characters planning a robbery always catches my attention. If anything, it steps up a gear when Brad Pitt enters the scene and I'm really beginning to get into it. Sadly, it wasn't to last, when the James Gandolfini character appears it does take a bit of a dive. He seems a bit of a wasted character; only there to pad the thing out a bit. It's a shame because I really liked Gandolfini as an actor and felt this was not a fair reflection of his talent. Some very interesting effects were used and I found these very interesting. The use of slow motion in one particular assassination scene was quite breathtaking. There is also a scene depicting the world from a drug addict's point of view that looked pretty strange too. Over all, it's one of those that I think I'll have to watch again to fully appreciate. For now, I liked it, but didn't fall in love with it; I'm sure a future viewing may fix that one way or the other. Expand
  17. Aug 22, 2013
    9
    There is talk and preparation that comes before everything, the politics of it all, thats exactly what Killing Them Softly is about, its a real talkative film and one which needs to be followed with close attention, it knows how to grip and entice without being flashy and in your face, people expecting any different will be disappointed. There is a bleak and pessimistic, but perhaps real outlook on life when money is low and the whole world knows it, we have a crime film that involves a simple heist and how the ones who carried out said heist will be dealt with.
    But this opens up questions which the film confidently answers, who takes the fall for crimes, what are the repercussions of such acts, what if a hitman is familiar face to his target? These questions are all answered in very deep, humorous and very insightful conversations, with longer scenes to highlight the point being made. The cast includes Brad Pitt, playing his vintage cool guy persona with slicked back hair and leather jacket, while we also have the late James Gandolfini playing a raging alcoholic of a hitman who is on parole, but the surprising performance comes from Ben Mendelsohn, who plays a heroin-addicted robber, his performance can only be summed up with praise for his appearance, style and commitment to the character, who has seen better days.
    The underlying tone of the film is in lieu of the Presidential election of 2008, we have the various campaigns playing on TVs, radios and other outlets throughout the film, sometimes these background cues become louder than the actual moments in the film, a deliberate attempt to put across what the film is saying, that everyone is alone, and the film portrays unpredictably, lack of loyalty and every man for himself with the goal being a payoff. Its an excellently shot film, focusing on each character and also using the backdrop of the election as broader shots throughout the film, Brad Pitt as Jackie knows the problems and difficulties he faces each and every day in the country he calls home, but a place he also doesn't call a 'country' but rather a business.
    This is certainly a surprise to what I expected the film to be, it does the opposite and explains its actions throughout, becoming a smart and witty character study of real life in tough times and how people just need to get by.
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  18. Aug 11, 2013
    7
    Buen thriller. Excelentemente interpretado, con un buen guión y por sobre todo entretenida, que es el fin del cine, entretener al espectador. Sorprendido gratamente.
  19. Aug 11, 2013
    7
    I liked the way the film started with a very bleak and down-to earth approach to the whole set-up. Some interesting low-life characters planning a robbery always catches my attention. If anything, it steps up a gear when Brad Pitt enters the scene and I’m really beginning to get into it. Sadly, it wasn’t to last, when the James Gandolfini character appears it does take a bit of a dive. He seems a bit of a wasted character; only there to pad the thing out a bit. It’s a shame because I really liked Gandolfini as an actor and felt this was not a fair reflection of his talent. Some very interesting effects were used and I found these very interesting. The use of slow motion in one particular assassination scene was quite breathtaking. There is also a scene depicting the world from a drug addict’s point of view that looked pretty strange too. Over all, it’s one of those that I think I’ll have to watch again to fully appreciate. For now, I liked it, but didn’t fall in love with it; I’m sure a future viewing may fix that one way or the other.

    SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

    My score: 7.2/10.
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  20. May 28, 2013
    4
    This is a harsh and unapologetic depiction of American crime. It had potential, and it even had moments when that potential was realized, but ultimately Killing Them Softly failed to wow, and it left me saying, "meh."
  21. May 26, 2013
    0
    This is by far the biggest pile of rubbish I've ever seen it took to long to get started most of which never made sense if you hate someone please please recommend this, why Brad Pitt and other famous stars would put their name to this is amazing
  22. May 23, 2013
    6
    Usually I love crime films but not this time. It seems poorly written with little dialogue referring to the actual plot. The Russell and Frankie characters drift in and out of horribly faked accents. The plot could have used some serious work. Don't waste money on this movie.
  23. May 22, 2013
    5
    Despite the masterful performances from Pitt & Gandolfini it misses with its political theme in this dialogue driven, but brutal mob crime drama. -MN
  24. Apr 26, 2013
    4
    This is a film that features great performances, most notably James Galdolfini and the very strange Ray Liotta. Killing Them Softly is dark, gritty and paints a harsh portrait of American criminal subcultures, metaphorically connecting this world to the world of capitalism and American politics. Despite its style, Killing Them Softly is a cynical, perhaps pretentious film that is unpleasant to watch due to tedious dialogue and brutal violence that feels gratuitous and senseless. Ultimately, the movie lacked soul. Expand
  25. Apr 14, 2013
    4
    Having not been privy to an advanced screening of the film, I suspect that many of my thoughts on Killing Them Softly may be redundant. However, I solemnly pledge that I have read not a single review of the film as of this writing.

    In trailers for the film, Killing Them Softly was portrayed as a boiler plate mob flick casting Brad Pitt in the lead as a grim reaper type of character
    (reference Johnny Cash's song in the official trailer). The film fails to convince us of what it is and comes across served as half baked.

    Maybe the greatest misdeed of the film is the elegant brilliance of James Gandolfini's obvious, yet subtle, troll. His appearance is epic, with ambient sound off and film slowed, as if some writer thought, "Hot damn! And in off the plane walks none other than f'n Tony Soprano, scratch that, James Gandolfini, and you just know that, the just got real." The embrace with Brad Pitt's character, Jackie Cogan, eludes to some sort of father-son kinship, only to remain unexplained, and the droning at the bar is merely sleight of hand, to distract us from the trolling taking place before our eyes. The final act of Gandolfini is the hotel room. References to a prong and the skin under the eyelids yield the conclusive data for this year's best silver screen troll. .

    Pitt's mannerisms are so repetitive from one film to another it's difficult to suspend disbelief. Am I watching Brad Pitt play a producer play a mob hitman? Is this Billy Beane's alter ego? Or, am I watching Brad Pitt play Rusty Ryan playing a mob hitman? In the final scene the facade is gone and the viewers get a dose of politics as Pitt, or Cogan, if you wish, waxes eloquent on America as a business and Jeffersonian nuances. Cogan is apparently read up on his Howard Zinn. How remarkable.

    As for Cogan, we have no bearing on his affections. He seems like he just wants to put it all behind him, or get the movie over with already. There is nothing a viewer can attribute his coolness in the face of callous murder to. Is he so chipper, easygoing, and collected in his scenes with the counselor because he knows the end of the film? He doesn't come across as psychopathic so what gives? Where are his demons? The film leaves you unfulfilled on this point. Gandolfini, however, plays it straight. Here's a guy who's banged up inside and turns to drink and hookers for his panacea. Typical human behavior for a life of hard knocks. Put Cogan up against Liotta's character in Goodfellas, or Billy Costigan in The Departed. Both come up as men who are staggering through their lives. Not so Jackie Cogan. It rings hollow.

    Pitt is rehashing himself. Same sultry swagger, impeccable tailoring, and jaw-half-open pondering of what happens next. One is left thinking that the film was rushed to fit World War Z into the actor's schedule.

    This writer's best guess is that studios have been notified that Mr. Pitt will only be taking roles in which he does not have to cut his hair. That is the only way this movie makes sense.

    4/10 for effort on the part of the supporting cast and mercy on Ray Liotta.
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  26. Apr 1, 2013
    8
    It doesn't really make sense to hate a movie largely because it is an obvious allegory to (then) current events. So what if it is? I don't mind if they put at the beginning of the movie "This is an allegory to the financial crises of 2008". That could be the title of the movie for all I care. The question is if it is actually a good movie. And yes it is. True Romance/Resivior Dogs/Pulp Fiction like. Wish the larger story would have kept up throughout the film, but still. Expand
  27. Mar 31, 2013
    6
    The plot of this film is a thin as piss on concrete, but the filmmakers wanted to put a subversive (well in the end they push it in your face) message in it: America is a country where every man has to fend for himself, and if the economy is going down the drain they'll just have to fend a little harder The events in this movie move along ever so slowly, but they keep your attention focused with the engaging acting. There are many scenes that seemingly serve no purpose, it's more like spending time with the characters. They were smart enough not to stretch it out longer than 97 mins, which is about the right length for this kind of film. Expand
  28. Mar 20, 2013
    0
    Killing Them Softly.... it was killing me softly.... worst movie I have ever watched... Do not waste your time and money. It doesn't even worth a download.
  29. Mar 13, 2013
    7
    Killing Them Softly is a well made hitman noir, it packs up great action sequences and great camera angles with great special SLO MO effects. But, this movie is incredibly long and has gaps that need to be filled in order for it to thrive and be a mega blockbuster. Overall, Killing Them Softly is one to watch.
  30. Feb 20, 2013
    8
    killing them softly reminds me of one of those 20th century classical books. what you basically have is a simple setup for the story, but you cloak the story in metaphor, a metaphor that you let one of the main characters explain at the end of the story. i like the way how it is executed in this movie, to the extend that the actual story isn't even that much fun to watch, because it is sacrificed for the metaphor. it makes me feel really smart for having read the 20th century classical books. Expand
  31. Feb 10, 2013
    6
    This was no "Chopper".

    I had high expectations, Read a glowing, two page review in The Boston Globe. Love dark, cynical crime films. Would watch Brad Pitt all day, every day. It had its moments. Cinematography was great. Richard Jenkins understated and perfect per usual. Based on a great book.

    It just didn't work. Too much time spent on Gandolfini's Mickey breaking down. Way,
    way too much political posturing. Extremely disconcerting to know that it was supposed to be set in Boston, but could see easily that it wasn't. Pitt is such a fine actor and he wasn't given enough to work with. Best moment, best line at the very end. Really good ending. Made me smile. Wish the whole film felt like the ending. Expand
  32. Feb 9, 2013
    6
    The starting 25 minutes were mesmerizing. Sadly, it turned out to be just a revenge flick. It could have been so much more if they had actually tried to develop the characters before offing them one at a time.
  33. Feb 3, 2013
    6
    Thats alot of dialog............and not very good dialog at that. Good twisting I think of plot, but not very creative. The violence the title would indicate rarely reveals itself. When it does, it is a bit shocking which is what i thought the movie should have more of. Pitt seems to be playing the same character again and again
  34. Jan 30, 2013
    0
    I love the crime genre but this film STINKS. Corny, pretentious, cliché and preachy with a ham fisted delivery of an obvious and boring message. The few cool scenes of violence and decent performance by Ray Liotta and good performance by the old guy from 6 Feet Under do not come close to saving this turd. I'm a Brad Pitt fan but he was lame in this. The Aussie director obviously failed to grasp the nuance that makes a good American crime flick. Borrrrrring. I would rather stab my self in the neck than watch this piece of garbage again. Expand
  35. Jan 30, 2013
    2
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The Good: Relatively intelligent story, it has depth. Mr Pitt always delivers and this is no exception. I also felt bad about the destiny of Ray Liottas character witch is a first. And there's nice cars all through this movie :) The hits performed are beautifully filmed, and considering the title I expected more of a shooter and was pleasantly surprised it wasn't so. The Bad: I am not an american, but I have been to New Orleans and this movie looks nothing like that place, it caught nothing of the Big Easy spirit. I grew tired of endless conversations between characters that couldn't hold my interest. Lastly; As much as this movie is not a gunslingin' shooter, it is, at times, a blatant orgy in violence. The talks could be made shorter, the violence could be made less exsplisit, But all in all, the movie is kinda boring, and I am usually the guy that says shooters suck. Expand
  36. Jan 29, 2013
    5
    The characters who die in "Killing them Softly" are ironically or not, not killed softly at all. In fact quite the opposite. Writer-director Andrew Dominik shoots these scenes in the noisiest way possible, employing graphic visuals, super slow motion executions, and shots ringing out so realistically loud-as if you were next to someone with a gun going off at point blank range, straining your eardrums. Organized crime in America is troubled, just like the rest of the economy with a business slowdown and a growing recession. The film seems to be trying--and failing-- to draw parallels between events unfolding in the film's forefront and the running background narrative of the 2008 financial meltdown and presidential election. Perhaps if the primary narrative were more coherently developed those parallels would be easier to understand. The plot of "Killing Them Softly" is bare, and straight forward. Three amateurs stickup a Mob protected card game, causing the local criminal economy to collapse. A genial guy named Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta) operates high-stakes poker games for the mob. One night the game is hit by two hooded stick-up men, who make off with a big pile of mob money. This in itself is suspicious, because it looks like an inside job, because who is crazy enough to attempt this brazen act. A high-level mob boss named Mickey (James Gandolfini) arrives in town and orders the executions of the amateurs by a hit man named Jackie (Brad Pitt), who likes to kill softly and briefly explains why. These are the first two of many, many mob-on-mob killings in the film. "Killing Them Softly" continues as a dismal, dreary series of cruel and painful murders, mostly by men who know one another, in a barren city where it's usually night and almost always raining. There is one female character in the film, a hooker employed by Mickey, who is the only mobster not exclusively obsessed with crime or money. As the body count grows, we meet Driver (Richard Jenkins), a gravel-voiced chief executive who appears often behind the wheel of a car parked in the wastelands beneath bridges. Fine cinematography continues to be one of the hallmarks of Andrew Dominik, but here we feel short changed at its abrupt ending that didn't go anywhere. It did its job in bringing current proceedings to a close, yet opening another door that left it hanging like an unfinished job. "Killing Them Softly" is a curiously dead movie (pun not intended). It never really gets off the ground and is strangely flat in spite of a generally excellent cast and a premise brimming with tough guy possibilities. Expand
  37. Jan 27, 2013
    0
    worst brad pitt movie ever,No significant story or purpose,empty dialogues and low budget film.Lucky i file shared this.Even a kid can write a better script than this.This type of movies should never made in future.
  38. Jan 26, 2013
    9
    ok, so they rob the wrong people, but is always funny when you know the guys pulling it off are idiots, so you are just waiting for them to mess up. um, oh i know its an action movie but i laughed so much ina seen that i cried and then had a stomach ache, these guys have a sawed off shot gun and well you can see part of the bullet, well that just made the movie for me, i still cant stop thing what would happen if you pull the trigger. Expand
  39. Jan 25, 2013
    4
    Killing Them Softly assembles a first-rate cast and is consistently potent in its style, but its writing and direction is where it encounters its gravest problems. We have the likes of Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, and Scoot McNairy, along with director Andrew Dominik of The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford, which leads one to believe that we have a strong and viable mob drama on our hands. Unfortunately, we have a rather tedious, disappointing excursion awaiting us as we see that the product is combined of outdated mobster morals and lukewarm potboiler drama between its morosely captured characters.

    We open the movie with mobster Russell (Ben Mendelsohn) attempting to convince his boss to hire a lowlife junkie named Frankie (Scoot McNairy) to pull off an operation involving the holdup of an illegal poker game. With much hesitation, the boss allows Russell and Frankie to pull off the holdup, and the film follows up with a long, dry robbery which is held in a concise building where a number of men in suits have gathered to exchange words, drinks, and hands, all run by crime boss Markie (Ray Liotta). Not long ago, Markie silently staged to have his own poker game robbed and kept quiet about it for a period of time, until openly releasing his involvement over a night of drinks. The gang allowed him one pass, but the next robbery, the one the film opens with, will be counted as Markie's fault and his involvement will be assumed from the get-go.

    After this robbery, Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt), a local hitman, is hired to restore all mob order. He is brought in by Driver (Richard Jenkins), who tells him that Markie must be taught a lesson. Jackie's idea of being "taught a lesson" is having him whacked not because of his guilt or involvement, but so confidence and loyalty can be restored among its members. Jackie later informs people like Driver and Mickey (James Gandolfini) that he enjoys killing his victims softly, avoiding any last minute pleading, weeping, begging, or negotiating. He prefers shooting from a distance, so all feeling is omitted but all pride is obtained.

    So one could say the basic plot is a hitman is hired to kill a mob member who has been shortchanging loyalty. I suppose, but at numerous points in this picture did I need to remind myself of that. Killing Them Softly stages numerous sets of dialog, lasting anywhere from a couple minutes to scenes like the opening heist that go on for roughly eight. Certain monologues and characters could've easily been left out, such as Gandolfini's Mickey, whose dialog exchanged with Jackie in his hotel room shows off nothing but his misogyny and his ability to give hookers foul and rancid sex tips.

    One thing that Dominik attempts to concoct throughout the film, but doesn't adhere to it until the final monologue of the film is the idea that "America isn't a country; it's a business," talking about every man for themselves, that we work individually not as a community, and all of us should function as anti-corporate individuals. I have no problem with that ideology or the polar opposite one being portrayed in a film, but it's the treatment that fails it for me. This is pretty generic formula that was well alive in films like Goodfellas and even so far back as The Godfather; two pictures that chew up and spit this one out. Throughout the film we see scenes punctuated with news stations or billboards showing former president George W. Bush, 2008 Republican nominee John McCain, or current president Barack Obama either reminding us that America is in consistent turmoil or that our financial future will be restored under their presidency. The purpose of these clips is not announced until the final scene in the film, and never do we get a solid character opinion on the political system in America; which is odd considering we are bombarded with boring, irrelevant banter from mobster archetypes for roughly one hundred minutes.

    Killing Them Softly wants to showcase award-winning, renowned actors in a mob thriller. It also wants to show us how American politics have falsely and artificially reminded us we are united as one, when we all work with very different agendas. And it wants to show the sporadic conversations that can derail off course easily and never fully regain or pick up any traction. The point is I get it. I get what the film was trying to pull off. My problem is that it undermines the talent involved, and takes a simple, sufficient idea and makes it a lot preachier than need be, acts as if it's trying something new, and then gives us the atmosphere of the seventies, with grit and old-fashioned cars, but nudging it to fit current, rough, uncertain times.
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  40. Jan 23, 2013
    8
    90 minutes of a well constructed, albeit dark, crime thriller that should be praised for it's originality (how many mob movies actually try to have an underlining message?) rather than dismissed for its pace or lack of conventional mob movie aesthetics. I expect great things from Dominik in the future, and although this film was not a "box office smash" I expect over time this film will surface as a cult classic. If you want a mobster/crime movie that exhibits all the obvious qualities spoon fed to you - watch Gangster Squad. Expand
  41. Jan 20, 2013
    7
    Killing Them Softly was an interesting blend of great scenes and forced spoon feeding. While the title implies a subtle delivery (and thus an expectation of heavy interaction), the audience is bombarded with explanation and repetition.
  42. Jan 18, 2013
    7
    a film by a director in love with brad pitt's image... nothing new under the sun. nonetheless, the cast THE CAST THE CAST is remarkable, some of the photography tricks are good and the soundtrack remarkable. this is kind of a sleeper, since it was thrased in 65th cannes. it is worth the while and kind of makes you expect what its director might achieve next.
  43. Jan 3, 2013
    8
    This is one of my favorite films of 2012 and lands at number 14 on my top films of 2012 list. Will probably be overlooked at awards season, but is definitely worth seeing for a few great performances and a solid narrative.
  44. Jan 1, 2013
    1
    Despite the talent of the actors in Andrew Dominik's film noir, Kissing Them Softly, this film was highly unlikable for the simple reason that there is not one single character in the movie you care about - dead or alive. The political overtones were heavy handed and the considerable talent wasted on this very dark, boring script.
  45. Dec 31, 2012
    5
    After giving two excellent films last year (i.e. The Tree of Life, Moneyball), Brad Pitt decided to give a try to something different, something that is not so mainstream and hence he decided to do Killing Them Softly. Honestly, I didn't like the film that much, the performances are good, no doubt, but in a neo-noir crime film, I expect a little more than just good performances. It would have been a great film if there were any mysteries incorporated in film's plot, but sadly, there wasn't a single mystery, just a simple plot and a predictable outcome. The only reason I decided to watch this film was Brad Pitt. If you think of this movie considering only Pitt in mind, then this movie is okay. The best things about this film are those slow-motion scenes and the last five minutes when Barack Obama is making a speech on television. There is nothing new in this film, nothing you haven't seen before. Expand
  46. Dec 29, 2012
    5
    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. Expand
  47. Dec 26, 2012
    0
    Oh Dear this was sooo bad i was expecting soo much more, the film was so boring im surprised i managed to sit through it. There was one scene i liked (the drive by) but the rest was pointless boring talking that went nowhere and meant nothing. The arrival of James Gandolfini is totally pointless and has no impact on the film other than waste 30 minutes with more talking...
    i would say
    worst film of 2012, even worse than twilight.... Expand
  48. Dec 21, 2012
    9
    Admittedly the political commentary is heavy handed but watching Pitt, looking every bit his almost 50 years stare down Gandolfini while running through mountains of great George V. Higgins dialogue in bars and seedy locations across a less-than beautiful New Orleans can allow near excessive violence and somewhat indulgent use of quaint old-fashioned music as a parallel to brutality function quite well as a whole. Expand
  49. Dec 12, 2012
    8
    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. Expand
  50. Dec 10, 2012
    8
    The one convention that gangster and mob flicks always associate with themselves is a capitalist society. Most of the time, these aren
  51. Dec 9, 2012
    8
    This is a movie you will really like if; A) you are a real thinking person and b) if you like films done with the same kind of pace (and irony) of a Quentin Tarantino film. First, you would be hard pressed to find a movie about thieves, hit men, mob bosses, etc. that has more grit and raw feel than this film. Brad Pitt, as a hire hit man, is simply perfect in this role. At the heart of his character is simply a business man who is out for profit. Speaking of great acting, the price of admission to this movie is worth watching the 2 scenes with James Gandolfini; he is simply brilliant. The movie ironically juxtaposes the stark realities of 21st century "business" with TV and radio snippets featuring George Bush and then Senator Obama apologizing for the crash of the economy and how we are all "one" and need to "pull together. If you want to see what the real American has come to; go see this film. Expand
  52. Dec 8, 2012
    0
    Painful. Wretched. Banging my head against a concrete wall for an hour and a half would have been a better use of my time, and more pleasurable. I love dark and gritty movies, but this was just dumb. This felt more like a high school film project than a professional production. By the way, towards the middle of film, I looked around the theater and just about everyone was playing with their smart phones. Luckily I got in some quality Christmas shopping in on my Samsung Note II. Very cool. I wish metacritic had negative scores, it just seems that a zero is too high for this film. Expand
  53. Dec 6, 2012
    1
    If dogs could write this is what they would have written, I would NEVER have expected Brad Pitt to star is such an piece of TRASH. It was an story that have been told in just 20 minutes but with poor script and the stringing along of the plot just wanted to make me RUN away from this flick.. BEST advise of the Christmas season.. RUN not walk away from this BOMB.
  54. Dec 6, 2012
    2
    Not worth the price of ticket--" F " word in every sentence---Pitt should have stayed with the kids--looks like a kid trying to play a tough guy!--walks through the role!
  55. Dec 4, 2012
    8
    I'm not sure exactly why but I Iiked "listening" to this movie. It's not Quentin Tarrantino but, the conversations between the characters, and there are many of them, are simple, almost unremarkable, and yet still somehow interesting. The violence that I expected is not that bad compared to other comparable movies and it is artfully done in some instances. There's not a lot going on; it's basically revenge for a crime committed against criminals. They talk a lot; I liked hearing it. Expand
  56. Dec 4, 2012
    0
    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.
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  57. Dec 4, 2012
    4
    The last film by writer/director Andrew Dominik was "The Assassination of Jesse James
  58. Dec 3, 2012
    7
    If you are expecting gunfights,explosions and sex-scenes you were misled to the movie theaters by the trailer.Even though it was not what I fully expected I can say that enjoyed it.The dialogue was very sharp and fascinating and Brad Pitt didn't disappoint me.
  59. Dec 3, 2012
    1
    A mindless flick and typical of those that depend for their allegedly laudatory grittiness on an unrelenting stream of gratuitously obscene dialogue and talk of sexual activity that have absolutely no bearing on the plot. I was in the Navy for 20 years and never did I hear such crap spoken by sailors. How can a screenwriter hold his or her head up after writing such garbage?
  60. Dec 2, 2012
    1
    The only redeeming thing about this piece of crap, was Brad Pitt's bar scene, that aside,it was absolutely terrible. After the worst Campaign , and election results EVER, the LAST thing I want to see on a movie screen, is ideology shoved down my throat ! Total waste of my Popcorn $.
  61. Dec 2, 2012
    0
    DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THIS HORRIBLE MOVIE! This is positively the worst movie I have seen in years. They have tried to cover this up and won't let you write a review on google or yahoo. Go and try. This movie was so horrible, people were walking out of the theater about 45 minutes into it. I almost walked out, but was hopeful there would be this huge turn of events, but it never happened. Holly-weird has gotten even weirder (bad grammar, I know). I wouldn't even take the time to rent this when it comes out. Positively THE WORST MOVIE in a long time. Collapse
  62. Dec 2, 2012
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. KTS is a movie about dialogue not bullets. It spends a lot of time showing idle conversation trying to get you familiar with the characters. The only problem was I just did not find them very interesting. I felt like I was watching an episode of The Soprano's, just the only Soprano in the movie turned out to be a real douche. They spend 15 min of the movie trying to get you to hate him and then write him out of the rest of the movie instead of showing what would of been the most interesting part of the film. This whole film is them showing the boring parts of the story and leaving out the good parts. Expand
  63. Dec 2, 2012
    1
    This movie has a good storyline, however it is not delivered in a way that holds your attention. During the slow drag them out scenes of dialogue between Pitt and other actors, I witnessed no less than 10 people walk out of he movie. This movie is a waste of time and money. Don't go see this unless you want to punish someone.
  64. Dec 1, 2012
    5
    "Killing them softly", the words and title, refers not to the act of murder... and on that note... people who rated this movie poorly did so because they expected a typical mind-numbing action shooter and therefore didn't get the over-arching connections/themes. Regardless, the movie was alright but nothing to brag about. Plot revolves around a mafia group running a card game among all the bosses. This then gets robbed which leads to the bosses hiring brad pitt to kill the people who robbed them. Plot moves very slowly but the film is built to be a drama/dark comedy with the over-arching theme of comparing it to the way America runs. Interesting take in my opinion and once you get the connection they are trying to make with the USA it's not half bad. The government is killing its citizens softly with its policies and, as Pitt says, we are not untied and do not work as one... you're on your own. It is a cool cult movie and definitely worth a watch if you have the intellect. But honestly it's probably only worth a rent. Expand
  65. Dec 1, 2012
    2
    This movie was genuinely awful. The only reason it is getting a 2 is the gritty cinematography. But otherwise, it was a waste of money. No spoilers, there was no plot, they kept replaying 2008 election campaign coverage as if it had anything to do with the story (it didn't), the plot synopsis in the preview was all there was, it sloged along as if the movies was three hours instead of an hour 40 minutes, and you felt nothing whatsoever for the characters. It was Tarrentino lack of action without the quality Tarrentino writing. I am now afraid to see how World War Z will turn out because of Brad Pitt's creative hand in this piece of **** film. Expand
  66. Dec 1, 2012
    10
    Be warned, Killing Them Softly is an anti-thriller. Instead of gangster action, most of what you see is conversation. Or better yet, negotiation. Because the film is set in 2008 during the financial crisis, what these lowlifes are most desperately chasing, is just a bit more money. So even though the dialogue is razor-sharp and the performances are amazing, from an A list cast, most people don't want to watch negotiation for an hour and forty minutes. This is a more European take on the American crime drama, even though Andrew Dominik is Australian. The movie has a lot in common with Drive. And like that movie, this one will divide audiences between those put off by the angry tone, gruesome violence, and long periods of inaction. Which might be a problem if not for the incredible stylistic passion that bursts through every frame. Even when it's just two people talking in a bar, subtle camera movements, musical cues, and acting decisions always keep your attention. Expand
  67. Dec 1, 2012
    1
    A waste of our money & time!! Slow motion gore with no point. Repeated bars with CSPAN and CNN playing in the background show how unreal this film is! If only movies could be made by those that create the trailers...
  68. Nov 30, 2012
    6
    It wouldn't be fair for me to give this a negative review, or even an average one. It was well constructed, and well acted. What got me to see this movie, as I was originally on the fence, was the fact that people were comparing it to Drive, one of my favorite movies of last year. Upon seeing it, I can understand the comparisons, but I don't agree. It is setup in a similar way to Drive. It's a slow building, slow paced movie, with a few scenes that are sure to create excitement. I think if you just liked Drive out of sheer entertainment and nothing else, you might like this movie for the same reasons, although it is not as strong in that area as Drive. What it didn't have at all, which Drive did have, was brilliant character development, a thought provoking theme, and beautiful emotional power throughout. If that's the kind of thing you liked from Drive, I would say this movie doesn't cut it. We don't learn enough about the characters to care about them, and while the story line is somewhat entertaining, if you like movies that are a bit slow, it doesn't have a brilliant script artistically, and so if you were expecting this to be this powerful art house movie, you might be disappointed. I'd say overall, it's a movie well constructed to achieve entertainment only, and that's only if you don't mind the pacing. Expand
  69. CBN
    Nov 30, 2012
    3
    I wouldn't recommend this film to anyone, well I take that back. If you detest all the films your girlfriend/wife/mistress etc make you go see then I suggest this film, cause she'll be miserable after it. But then again, you will be too so.
Metascore
64

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: Dana Stevens
    Nov 30, 2012
    40
    The film is ultimately done in by Dominik's bursts of directorial grandiosity.
  2. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Nov 30, 2012
    80
    This is a deliberately chilly and nerve-wracking experience, and one of the bleakest portraits of American society seen on-screen in the last several decades.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Nov 30, 2012
    83
    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.