Killing Them Softly (18)
28 September - 11 October 2012
New Zealand filmmaker Andrew Dominik (Chopper, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) definitely has a certain preoccupation with violence, but he also explores strength, loyalty and reputation in the male psyche. Adapting George V Higgins' 1970s crime novel Cogan's Trade, Dominik transposes the story about organised crime to a more contemporary setting – post-Katrina New Orleans in the days leading up to Obama’s election. When two petty criminals (Monsters’ Scoot McNairy and Animal Kingdom’s Ben Mendelsohn) with barely a brain cell between them rob a mob-protected card game, the resulting chaos causes the local criminal economy to collapse. Into the frame walks Jackie Cogan (a terrific Brad Pitt), the slick and deadly enforcer hired to track them down and restore order.
While the connection between low-life crime and global recession is a bit hard to swallow (as is the balletic uber-violence at times), this film is terrifically engaging and a great addition to the gangster genre. With snappy dialogue which would make Tarantino envious, stunning visual set-pieces, a kick-ass soundtrack and a supporting cast that includes Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini and Ray Liotta, Killing Them Softly is set to become this year’s Drive and should finally tip Dominik into the big league.