I’ve been a fan of Andrew Dominik since his outstanding feature debut Chopper (2000) landed on our shores. With just two films to his name since, few would call him prolific, but what he lacks in quantity he makes up for in quality. 2007 saw him team up with Brad Pitt for the first time in the gripping slow burner The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford. They got back together in 2012 for this film, a darkly comic Mob movie called Killing Them Softly.
Based on a 1974 George V. Higgins crime novel, Killing Them Softly refers to the way that Jackie Cogan (Pitt) likes to kill his targets. He’s a professional point man assigned to track down a pair of junkies who have ripped off a mob-protected poker game. The star-studded supporting cast includes an on form Ray Liotta (when is he ever not on form?), James Gandolfini (channelling the softer side of Tony Soprano), Scoot McNairy and Sam Shepard.
With its overbearing political backdrop and leanings toward social commentary, Killing Them Softly isn’t as smart as it thinks it is. The plot is too slight and even at 97 minutes Andrew Dominik struggles to keep his movie from stalling. Thankfully he has a fantastic cast to keep the interest alive, with Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini and Ray Liotta proving particularly memorable this time out. At times Dominik successfully apes Quentin Tarantino but it’s not enough. Five years is a long time to wait for this intermittently enjoyable offering. Can and should do better. AW