User Score
5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 220 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 40 out of 220

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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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  4. 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."
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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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  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. 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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  13. 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.
  14. 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.... Collapse
  15. 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
  16. 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.
  17. 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!
  18. 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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  19. Dec 4, 2012
    4
    The last film by writer/director Andrew Dominik was "The Assassination of Jesse James
  20. 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?
  21. 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 $.
  22. 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. Expand
  23. 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
  24. 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.
  25. 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
  26. 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...
  27. 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.