Friday, April 5, 2013

MOVIE WEEKEND: KILLING THEM SOFTLY

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today I present for your consideration a movie now available on DVD, Killing Them Softly (2012, Rated R).


I can tell you right now: This movie is not for everyone. I'm not just giving you my usual warning about not letting your kids watch. If violence bothers you, no matter how stylishly it's executed, then you don't want to watch Killing Them Softly.

Some idiot low-lifes rob a Mob-run card game, wreaking havoc with local criminal activity. So Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) is hired to "remove" certain people from action and restore the economy.


Jackie Cogan: You ever kill anyone?
Driver: No.
Jackie Cogan: It can get touchy-feely.
Driver: Touchy-feely?
Jackie Cogan: Emotional, not fun, a lot of fuss. They cry. They plead. They beg. They piss themselves. They call for their mothers. It gets embarrassing.
Jackie Cogan: I like to kill them softly, from a distance. Not close enough for feelings. Don't like feelings. Don't want to think about them.

This is not your mother's movie about criminals. We don't see the action from the point of view of a good detective or a corrupt police officer or the Mafia don. We're in the down and dirty with the criminals themselves, one of whom complains he has to stick to crime to make a living because even when he can get a legitimate job, he doesn't have any way to get there. 

Now don't start writing comments to me about how I'm a soft-on-crime liberal. I didn't write this movie, and even though it indicates that some criminals are trapped in their line of business, this movie doesn't feel sorry for them either. Their lives suck. Their deaths suck. When a bullet goes through the window of a car and the glass flies into the air in slow motion so that it almost looks pretty, there's still someone on the other side of that window who is a bloody stinking mess. 

Throughout the movie we see news clips about the economy tanking, and finally, President Obama talking about how we are a nation of one people. Jackie Cogan doesn't see it that way:

Barack Obama (on TV): ...to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one...
Driver: You hear that line? Line's for you.
Jackie Cogan: Don't make me laugh. One people. It's a myth created by Thomas Jefferson.
Driver: Oh, so now you're going to have a go at Jefferson, huh?
Jackie Cogan: My friend, Thomas Jefferson is an American saint because he wrote the words 'All men are created equal', words he clearly didn't believe since he allowed his own children to live in slavery. He's a rich white snob who's sick of paying taxes to the Brits. So, yeah, he writes some lovely words and aroused the rabble and they went and died for those words while he sat back and drank his wine and fucked his slave girl. This guy wants to tell me we're living in a community? Don't make me laugh. I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business. Now fuckin' pay me.

We live in a capitalist society, and criminals are part of the business world. That's what I take away from Killing Them Softly.

If you decide you want to watch this movie in spite of the violence, you might feel dissatisfied with the end. The good guys don't ride in on their white horses and take out the bad guys. There is no Lone Ranger, no Superman, no Batman -- just ugly life. And because this movie achieves (what I believe to be) its purpose, it's well made, and Brad Pitt's performance is excellent.

Killing Them Softly has The Janie Junebug Seal of Approval.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

33 comments:

  1. Sounds like it would be hard to watch!!

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    1. It is, and not just because of the violence. I had to really think about it to figure out what was going on -- that it wasn't just a violent movie for the hell of it.

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  2. I like Brad, but don't care for gruesome. Thanks for the review. What is your favorite movie ever?

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    1. It's A Wonderful Life -- huge Jimmy Stewart fan. He went to the same prep school as The Hurricane (not when she was there, of course). It's where he first acted, and they still have an outstanding drama department. Some other well-known actors have gone to school there, too, including Benicio del Toro.

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  3. THANKS for stopping by my blog earlier and commenting.

    Elizabeth
    Silver's Reviwes

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    1. Thanks for stopping by my blog and thanking me.

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  4. This review (and all your reviews) have my seal of approval on them because you do such a good job with them.

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    1. I appreciate that very much, Shelly. I put quite a bit of thought into this particular review because the meaning of the movie wasn't apparent to me at first.

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  5. And there it is. First in your profile movie list.

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    1. Yup! I also love Jimmy in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington and The Spirit of St. Louis and The Philadelphia Story and oh my gosh, Harvey!

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  6. I find that as I get older I dislike watching violence, even when the plot calls for it. I've become a softie!

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    1. I'm not too wild about violence and absolutely won't watch slasher movies. Killing Them Softly has my seal of approval because it's intelligent and interesting and really must have the violence. It's a violence that cold and calculated and even quite impersonal. If I had been frightened by the violence, I don't think I could have watched the entire movie.

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  7. It sounds like a very fast paced movie with a lot of action. I think I might like it.

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    1. I wouldn't describe it as fast paced. It's a movie that takes its own sweet time getting where it's going.

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  8. I do want to see this movie, I heard from other people who saw it and they liked it as well. DOn't worry, I won't call you a bleeding heart liberal...I like Brad Pitt, violence or no violence. :)

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    1. I am a bleeding heart liberal; I'm just not a soft on crime bleeding heart liberal. I noticed yesterday that my nephew who has a Ph.D. in philosophy recommended this movie on his Facebook page.

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  9. watched it. i like Jackie Cogan's professionalism. sensible, fast and clean.

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    1. I think Brad Pitt has become better and better over the years. He was always good, but his pretty face almost overshadowed his skills. His acting is more noticeable now, and I think he's good at everything he does -- at least that I've seen.

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    2. I have noticed that too, about Brad Pitt.

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  10. I enjoyed that speech about all men are created equal. I also would enjoy seeing Brad Pitt, but I still think I will pass on this one.

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    1. I understand completely. It's not everyone's cup of tea.

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  11. Probably not my kind of movie. I'm not much into killing and violence. Now my husband on the other hand...he'd love it!

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    1. Maybe he can watch it with Schultz so he doesn't get scared.

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  12. Not my kind of movie... but I have to say when I saw the title I thought "How exactly does one kill someone softly.... with a pillow maybe?"

    And now I know... from a distance... :)

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    1. There's plenty of up-close killing, too.

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  13. Seen the shorts to this movie and not sure if it is something I would like or not......

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    1. Since you're not much of a movie watcher, if you do have time to watch a movie, I can think of some you'd like better than this.

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  14. The parts you share sound really interesting, especially the part where the character talks about Thomas Jefferson. I don't know if I can take this one on, though, because I am totally a huge baby when it comes to handling watching violent stuff! Although I think my husband likes it when we watch stuff like that together because I always end up curling up into his chest and covering my eyes in a totally cliche kind-a way.

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    1. That's really cute. I'd like to hug the Z-Boys when I'm scared, but if I gasp or appear to be startled in any way, they scatter to look out the windows.

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  15. Sounds like a great movie to me. Good thing I have a day off tomorrow.

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    1. I hope you can take it easy. I have the day off every day. Not good for my finances.

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  16. Thanks for this review, after reading this review i love to watch this movies. Brad Pitt looking cool in this character i really love him and i likes Brad Pitt(Jackie Cogan) Killing Them Softly Leather Jacket he is really cute but i like him to see this character

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  17. Very Nice movie and very challenging character play by Brad Pitt. I likes in this movies isBlack Jackie Cogan Leather Jacket I like it very much

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