If 'Gangs of Wasseypur' were directed by Prakash Jha, the result would likely be something similar to 'Killing Them Softly' - a movie with guns and flying guts, set against a political and economic backdrop and a loud and clear moral of the story. But, save for its stellar actors and gorgeously grim murder scenes, 'Killing Them Softly' is mostly chatter, chatter and not enough bang, bang.
What's it about?
The subprime mortgage crisis has struck and America is at an all-time financial low. Obama and McCain are slugging it out for presidency and in a sleepy suburban town, hit man Cogan (Brad Pitt) is sent in to investigate and take down those involved in the robbery of a high-stakes poker game. Cogan is a hard-nosed contract killer with a weakness - he finds it hard to take down anyone he's met or those who beg incessantly for mercy before the kill. How Cogan goes about his business while dealing with his conflicted conscience and the downturn makes for the rest of the movie.
Pitt puts in yet another fantastic performance as the world-weary assassin, as does Ben Mendelsohn who plays addict-turned-heist accomplice Russell. Also outstanding is James Gandolfini as Cogan's friend Mickey, a hit man fond of the good (read: expensive) things in life. Mob movie staple Ray Liotta also turns up in the cast but simply goes through the motions. In place of a background score, speeches by US senators, secretaries and former presidents fill in the silences at appropriate moments, underlying the gloomy reality of the status quo. The movie is however let down by a dialogue-heavy script which would be fine if this were only a political thriller, but it's also a mob movie for chrissake. The murder scenes are brilliantly captured, but are over too soon and you soon find yourself back to the rest of the proceedings, that are mighty dull in parts. Fortunately, the preachy bits arrive kicking and screaming only at the very end and are over before you know it.
What to do?
'Killing Them Softly' feels lost in translation - like a gangster movie tailored for Wall Street, only it doesn't quite fit. Watch only for brilliant performances by Pitt and the rest of the cast.
in.com rating: 2/5
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