User Score
5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 219 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 40 out of 219

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. 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.
    Expand
  13. 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.
  14. 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
  15. 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.
    Expand
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
    Expand
  18. 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."
  19. 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
  20. 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.
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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.
    Expand
  24. 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
  25. 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
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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
  29. 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
  30. 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.
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.