Killing Them Softly (2012) – Review

Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) is a hired enforcer that has been tasked with restoring order after a group of chancers decide to rob a highly protected poker game between local gangsters, causing the local criminal economy to collapse. Criticised by many critics as being long winded and slow in nature, Killing Them Softly is in my opinion, an underrated flick that is more than worthy of a watch. It’s worth noting that Killing Them Softly is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Director: Andrew Dominik
Writers: Andrew Dominik, George V. Higgins
Starring: Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mandelsohn, Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini

Based on the highly successfully novel “Cogan’s Trade”, written by George V. Higgins, Killing Them Softly found itself accumulating multiple awards upon its worldwide release in September of 2012 at prestigious events such as the Hamptons International Film Festival, San Diego Film Critics Society, and the Stockholm Film Festival, respectively.

Set in and around Boston, Massachusetts but filmed entirely in New Orleans, Louisiana, the backdrop of the picture managed to provide the viewer with a bleak, depressing nuance to accompany the serious topic of gangland America. Along the way, there were incredibly brutal scenes of violence on display, some which would be hard to watch for most people, along with some snippets of dark humour and a large amount of political commentary too.

One other aspect of the flick that stood out for me in a positive manner was the soundtrack, which featured many classic and symbolic America songs of the past, with “The Man Comes Around” by Johnny Cash and “The Windmills of Your Mind” by Petula Clark just two of the many that stood out as being noteworthy.

In terms of the cast, Brad Pitt was billed as the lead man in this one, starring as Jackie Cogan, the calm, calculated assassin with an air of charm surrounding his character, mixed with mystery. Support primarily coming from Scoot McNairy and Ben Mandelsohn, who adopted the roles of Frankie and Russell, respectively. Elsewhere, there were even lesser prominent roles for the likes of Ray Liotta and James Gandolfini throughout the ninety-seven-minute runtime.

All in all, Killing Them Softly certainly isn’t the action-packed, high intense crime thriller that many may have expected, but it was a very well-produced drama that included numerous thought-provoking undertones and in my opinion is an underrated gem, worthy of a watch. As previously noted, Killing Them Softly is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

“I’m living in America, and in America, you’re on your own.”

Jackie Cogan – Killing Them Softly


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