Feature

Killing Them Softly

A hit man cleans up a mess made by other crooks.

Directed by Andrew Dominik

(R)

**

This “flawed but compelling drama” has “a strange undertow that will leave you eager to see it again,” said Andrew O’Hehir in Salon.com. That’s not to say that the movie is enjoyable—it features “one of the bleakest portraits of American society” put on screen in decades and “leans a bit too hard” on parallels between the mob underworld and America at large. Brad Pitt “may be coming into his own,” though, said Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle. As a mob enforcer hired to get a regular high-stakes poker game running again after its participants are robbed, the star savors the chance to play seedy—and alongside such great performers as James Gandolfini. “There might be nothing more scary in the contemporary screen than the sight of Gandolfini smiling, while his eyes are not smiling at all.” Director Andrew Dominik displays a Tarantino-esque knack for “eerily beautiful” violence, said Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times. But he’s far too heavy-handed in his attempts to link the ugly business of a hit man with pre-2008 Wall Street. “He should trust his audience more.”

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