“Killng Them Softly” (2012): Four star

Lazy or abstracted, a bit of both, I hadn’t researched Killing Them Softly before I schlepped round to a late-evening screening in Belfast. It was a revelation. A little bit The Driver, and a little bit anything by Scorsese (but less posy) and somewhat Gomorrah.

It was refreshingly not a vehicle for Brad Pitt, who is only very notionally its star. The writing is though, followed closely by the two hapless, over-reaching drug addicts. Their pavement condition of knowingness and ignorance, the moments of clarity which poke through their chemical haze, were treasures. There remains plenty of room for big performances by big names, not shoe-horned in, but growing like bulky weed on a ship’s hull.

Lord, this is a good film. But is it lefty and PC at its heart? Oh dear, suppose the leitmotif of the 2008 US election is supposed to be a reminder that America’s screwed? Luckily, it is not clear – it is pointedly unclear – whether the movie’s POV is achingly liberal, or more hands-off and even comfortingly reactionary. I’m hoping (but not supposing) the last. Only the doubt as to messaging knocked this off the Five star shelf.

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Publication date

26 October 2012


On movies