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May 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Brad Pitt’s Killing Them Softly — he’s both the producer and star — premiered at the Cannes Film Festival today (Tuesday) and promptly courted controversy from both the right and the left. The film is set in 2008 during the presidential election and features clips of president-to-be Obama promising reforms that never came about. As Michael Phillips put it in his review in the Chicago Sun-Times, “The transactions and grisly tactics we see in the story makes [Obama’s] words taste ashen.” But the script also appears to take on America’s capitalist system — something that will arouse the anger of the right. “America’s not a country. It’s a business,” Pitt’s character remarks. It’s dialog like that that led Sasha Stone of to comment, “There’s no getting around it. Killing them Softly is a deliberate indictment of the American capitalist system,” as it alludes to how the Obama administration wound up aiding the very people responsible for the economic collapse. At a news conference, Pitt denied that the film was a criticism of Obama but he implied that he is unhappy that the president has failed to punish those responsible for the mortgage collapse. “It was criminal, by the way, and there still haven’t been any criminal repercussions for that,” he said. Australian director Peter Dominick, who adapted the novel on which the movie is based, commented, “I always feel that crime films are about capitalism because it is a genre where it is perfectly acceptable for all the characters to be motivated by the desire for money. In some ways, the crime film is the most honest American film because it portrays Americans as I experience a lot of them, in Hollywood, as being very concerned with money.”