Following the heist of a mob protected poker game, the two amateurs involved are Frankie (Scoot McNairy) and his not-so trusty side-kick, Russell (Ben Mendelsohn). Both guys work for low-key puppet Johnny (Vincent Curatola) who runs a business around Frankie and Russell, with a pay-day depending on the job Johnny supplies.
It is no routine job this time around as Johnny convinces Frankie and Russell to hold up a poker game hosted by Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta), who previously, organised his own cohorts to hold up a protected poker game, leaving himself revelling in the mobs cash. So it is when Johnny sees the second time round an opportunity for some easy money, as well as sticking the blame on Markie's head, opening up a whole new can of worms for everyone involved.
Looking for an immediate response and a possible conclusion to this mess, it is when associates within the mob begin to question those responsible, hiring Jackie Cogan (Pitt) to investigate and wipe out the gang behind the heist.
Killing them softly is not much different from your basic mobster concept, but it does supply two factors; the social setting that reveals the harsh reality of the economic downfall within the slums of America, and a violent drama that although moves at a slow pace, the overall scenes of murder and dialogue result in a movie supporting realistic fashion.
Andrew Domink's latest does carry a lot of pro-American substances, but balances the concept quite well as the cast of characters shed light on the real America, reflecting on a minority of lower class individuals looking to find richness through violence and corruptness. As Jackie Cogan puts it, he represents a personality in business...the killing business.
Although quite short, Killing them softly is a delightful watch, showing the violence and portrayal from all angles. Unfortunately the movie did feel the need to over exaggerate the dialogue element of the film. James Gandolfini's character Micky, who is also brought in by Jackie, had so much potential to make a real mark in filming, but was overlooked by some humorous, sometimes dragged out scenes that failed to express the character he was brought in to represent.
The plot is a no-brainer as the main ingredient of the movie was to invite the audience into the lives of certain individuals such as Frankie, Jackie, Micky and many more. Although the constant dialogue is smartly written and at times really funny, an hour and fifteen minutes is built up to a climax that ends just like you expected, but all too soon, and without any character development. Some will enjoy the short concept from Andrew as his vision resembles cult classics such as Reservoir Dogs, Mean Streets and Snatch, which are relatively short, characterised movies, but succeeded in having a memorable impact on the audience.
Killing them Softly is a fine example of a film that does not need high-octane action to wow the viewers, instead it teases by nit-picking at the shots of realistic violence and the aftermath of emotions.
Overall; A refreshing movie with fantastic performances from all of the cast involved. Killing them softly is unique in its own way, supplying a nice soundtrack to match its gritty ambiance. Lacking the action the majority might have expected, the concept is not for everyone. I for one, Loved it!
Introducing Jackie Cogan.