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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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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 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
    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
    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.
  15. Sep 25, 2013
    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
    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
    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.
  18. Aug 11, 2013
    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
    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.
  20. May 28, 2013
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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.
  26. Apr 1, 2013
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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

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
    The film is ultimately done in by Dominik's bursts of directorial grandiosity.
  2. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Nov 30, 2012
    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
    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.