This movie softly killed Dave’s interest
Killing Them Softly is a scathing indictment of American society; an idea I can completely get behind. But hoo boy, does it take its time making that point. And when it does make it, it makes it anything but softly. Heavy-handed (one might even say ham-handed) and painfully obvious, the movie drives home its point with all the subtlety of one of hit man Jackie Cogan’s (Brad Pitt) shotgun blasts to the head. And in case you didn’t get it, Jackie sums it all up for you in a cynical but stirring speech in the final scene; set against the backdrop of President-elect Barack Obama’s victory address (the movie takes place in November of 2008). Okay, okay, we get it already! Admittedly, that scene is the best in an overlong, meandering film, full of depressing conversations, unlikable characters, and dreary, plodding set-pieces. Perhaps worst of all, the film crawls along at a snail’s pace, only occasionally punctuated by short bursts of action. It mopes about lifelessly, taking way too long to get anywhere (James Gandolfini plays a has-been hit-man whose character arc [such at it is] seems to be there only to pad out the running time, as it adds nothing whatsoever to the main story. He basically shows up so that the movie can be feature-length). I have a feeling there could have been a rather compelling short film here, but as a feature, Killing Them Softly had softly killed whatever goodwill I had for the film by the middle of the second act.