When the squeeze is on, everyone suffers. That is just one of the overarching themes of Andrew Dominik‘s “Killing Them Softly,” a hard-boiled crime tale that has bigger thematic ambitions. Brad Pitt stars as Jackie Cogan, a hitman and enforcer who subcontracts out a kill and watches as the events around the heist of a high stakes card game has repercussions both up and down the criminal chain of command. As we noted at Cannes, it’s a brilliant movie, and Pitt recently discussed how Dominik chose to approach the film.
“Well, what Andrew wanted to do with this film was interesting: He wanted to talk about America—and America as a business—but he wanted to hide it within this low-end crime drama. We in America have some grand ideals—and some very strong ideals—but a lot of times, those ideals are used for marketing,” he told Interview.
“In a way, [‘Killing Them Softly’ is] a call for responsible capitalism. But Andrew wanted to juxtapose that idea with the financial crisis and effects of that because there’s an interesting psychology at play in terms of who we are and what we do when given too much room. It started out in the ’90s, under Clinton, with the good intentions of ‘Everyone should own a house and have a shot at the American dream.’ So you open up doors to make that possible by giving people these loans. Then, Bush comes in and deregulates everything, so there’s no one at the helm, and it becomes easier to take advantage of it because there’s no accountability. And then you know what happened from there—a lot of people got hurt,” Pitt explains. “But it also says something about the nature of greed and what can happen when we don’t look beyond that. At the end of the day, what it says is that we can’t trust ourselves, that we need some governing body. I mean, people knew where things were heading–clearly, we got to the point where banks were actually betting against the very people they were giving these loans to.”
So yes, it will make you think (and laugh — what the trailers fail to show is that the movie is often pretty funny too), and set against the Obama/McCain election, it makes its point loud and clear. Check out the new international spot for the film below, and vote for this movie when it opens on November 30th. [Awards Daily/The Film Stage]