Killing Them Softly

“You know what’s a sign of a good actor? Being so engrossed in his character and his performance that you don’t even notice that you’ve made it a good 30 min or so thru the film without so much of a glance at your top billed movie star. That actor is Scoot McNairy. We saw him a few weeks back in Argo, but here he was Frankie, hired by a low level mob guy to rob a high stakes card game run by a different mob guy. With his Boston accent and Casey Affleck-ish charm, he captivated me through all that initial sequence. I almost didn’t want Brad Pitt to show up because I was liking this guy so much.

But oh, Brad Pitt did show up. He was the mob hitman, Jackie (though I never actually caught his name said in dialog). Something I love about Pitt as an actor is that while he may be one of the biggest stars of today, his performances are always so subtle and nuanced. Not the big name big performance you’d expect from a star of his level (for example, from his other half Angelina). Here he brought the required bad assery that goes with being a hitman by being smooth and cool and calculated. He didn’t wave around guns or prove his muscle. He said just as much as he needed to and got the job quickly, efficiently, and professionally. Richard Jenkins was a pretty good person for him to play off of. Jenkins matter of fact-ness complimented Pitt’s suaveness quite nicely.

While we’re on the subject of actors, I’ll continue that momentum. James Gandolfini was a bit of a miss for me. The idea behind his character was cool (past his prime hitman who no longer had it together) but he played him waaaaay too sleezy. I was just disgusted watching him. Other people in the crowd found him funny, judging by the giggles, but his schtick got old fast.

Much of the buzz I’m picking up about this film is on the cast, and it is well deserved. I did like the feel of it. It had a very Guy Ritchie vibe and I loved a lot of the fun that Andrew Dominik had with it. There was some humor mixed in with the dark underworld, and some of the shots were really cool and creative. The story was made most interesting by the characters, but a lot of the details were lost on me. I couldn’t keep track of some of the mob hierarchy and I never quite knew how a couple of them fit in. I also didn’t entirely get why there were constant clips of Obama speechifying. That became a little clearer in the last scene, but it was a ploy that came off a bit pretentious. Some quick googling makes sense of the whole thing in context, but I prefer to get there without having to do homework.

Killing Them Softly – \m/ \m/ \m/

Side note: This might be the last post for a couple weeks. I’m caught up on what’s out, and unless there’s some indie whose release is flying under the radar, there isn’t anything I’m interested in for next week. I finished up my Top 100 Reboot yesterday, and I don’t wanna start another mini until I knock down my queue of purchases acquired on Black Friday. Will likely wait until I get back from Christmas to start up the next one, but there is a whole mess of Christmas time releases to look forward to before then.”

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