Generally favorable reviews - based on 42 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 223 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 42
  2. Negative: 2 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Nov 28, 2012
    Killing them Softly is a lurid and nasty little nihilistic hitman noir, with an ingenuity that sneaks up on you.
  2. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Nov 29, 2012
    A bleakly comic, brutally Darwinian gangland saga that at times comes close to being this year's "Drive." It also does something that, if you're from around these parts, seems downright perverse. It takes the Boston out of George V. Higgins.
  3. 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.
  4. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Nov 29, 2012
    A stylish, brutal affair that delivers grim atmosphere and punishing violence but loses impact in telegraphing its political punches.
  5. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Nov 26, 2012
    What is most disconcerting about Dominik's film is his choice of rhythm. We pass from reams of conversation, or cantankerous monologue, to throes of extreme violence, then back to the flood of words - most of them to do with buying, selling, slaying, whoring, or doing time.
  6. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Nov 29, 2012
    The film, for all its visual felicities, comes to life only sporadically.
  7. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Nov 28, 2012
    A filthy, pretentious, brutally violent and utterly pointless load of rubbish called Killing Them Softly.

See all 42 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 73
  2. Negative: 21 out of 73
  1. Dec 1, 2012
    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
  2. Jan 23, 2013
    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. Collapse
  3. Dec 4, 2012
    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
  4. Feb 3, 2013
    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 Expand
  5. 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.
  6. Dec 6, 2012
    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! Expand
  7. Jan 27, 2013
    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. Expand

See all 73 User Reviews


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