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Killing Them Softly

Killing Them Softly

2012 (Andrew Dominik) 18A, 97 minutes

Brad Pitt; Sam Shepard; James Gandolfini; Ray Liotta

Killing Them Softly is a lurid and nasty little nihilistic hitman noir, with an ingenuity that sneaks up on you. It's the first movie directed by Andrew Dominik since The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), and once again he has cast Brad Pitt as a low-key, gimlet-eyed sociopath — and once again, the screen vibrates. The tough guys Pitt has played all possess a brawny physical fearlessness, yet they draw their power from Pitt's intelligence, his quicksilver-cool awareness. In Killing Them Softly, he's menacingly good as Jackie Cogan, a Mob enforcer who is called in to clean up the mess that follows an underworld card-game robbery committed by two real bottom-feeders: Frankie (Scoot McNairy), who's just nervous enough to sense that he's in over his head, and Russell (Ben Mendelsohn), a disheveled Australian junkie who can't see past his next fix. The two look like they should be easy enough to deal with, but first Jackie must figure out whether Trattman (Ray Liotta), who runs the poker night, secretly set up the heist himself. Then he's got to smoke out anyone else involved. 

Owen Gleiberman-Entertainment Weekly