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Killing Them Softly

cialis serif;”>Joseph Gallagher examines “first rate gangster noir” Killing Them Softly

treatment serif;”>Andrew Dominik’s latest effort is a snazzy array of self-importance manifested in a blistering hypnotic movie that features a menacing performance from Brad Pitt as a mob enforcer by the name of Jackie Cogan.

Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) is hired to track down three men who steal from a Mob-protected card game and restore order to the local criminal underworld. Following on from last year’s The Tree of Life (2011) and Moneyball (2011), Pitt returns to the screen with an animal magnetism and bad-boy charm that has rarely been seen since Fight Club (1999). Surrounding the star is a string of highly regarded actors such as Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, and Vincent Curatola.

Andrew Dominik’s talent was made apparent in films such as Chopper (2000) and The Assasination of Jesse James by the Cowboy Robert Ford (2007), the latter of which is arguably one of the best Westerns of recent memory. Dominick, as a writer, is able to adapt the 1974 novel, Cogan’s Trade, by George V. Higgins, and craft a screenplay that places the viewer comfortably in an off-balanced position with its unpredictable structure that lends itself exquisitely to the prodigious off-beat rhythm of the movie.

In his role as a director, Dominik is able to use a colour pallet and lenses which may be reminiscent of the action flicks of Don Siegel, but are not in any way lacking in lustre, and, along with production designer Patricia Norris and director of photography Greig Fraser, move Higgins’s Boston setting to that of New Orleans (probably because Brad Pitt could retreat to dinner every night). Credit is also due to a soundtrack that is able to thrust out ideas in a manner similar to a Scorsese classic.

The movie admittedly stumbles in its efforts to become something more than it is and thus garners much self-importance when trying to be overtly political, but it is nonetheless a first-rate gangster noir that makes us hope there will be many more Dominik/ Pitt collaborations.

Rating: ???? ?

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