After making the beautiful and ethereal anti-western “The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford,” Andrew Dominik took a bit of time away, and now five years later he returns with a wholly different film, the angry, caustic, funny and riveting “Killing Them Softly.”
Based on the book by George V. Higgins (“The Friends Of Eddie Coyle“), Domink takes the seemingly straightfoward story about a hitman hired to take out a couple of no good hoods who decide to rob a high stakes poker game, and turns it into a searing portrait of a wounded nation. No, we’re not kidding. Pitched against the backdrop of the 2008 election and the economic crisis, the movie takes some delight in playing off those themes within the story and characters in ways that are often exciting and intelligent. As we wrote in our review at Cannes, the movie is in many ways an anti-thriller with Dominik subverting genre expectations once again, with an emphasis mostly on dialogue, and less on gunplay (though there is one tremendous slo-mo sequence, hinted at here, thought it’s slightly spoilery). But this first trailer mostly gets the mood and tone down, playing up the film’s humor (but again, ruining some of its biggest laughs — guess which ones) while keeping its larger thematic elements in the background.
Starring Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini, Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn, “Killing Them Softly” is challenging and in this writer’s opinion, one of the best movies of the year. It opens on October 19th, watch the trailer below. And in case you’re wondering, the song in the trailer is “When The Man Comes Around” by Johnny Cash. [Huffington Post]