Monday, December 16, 2019

MOVIE REVIEWS: KILLING THEM SOFTLY

November 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Brad Pitt and his acting colleagues in Killing Them Softly are receiving much applause from critics even as the movie they’re appearing in is not. “It can be a pleasure to watch them all work, even in what turns out to be a disappointing job,” writes A.O. Scott in the New York Times. The movie, he says “is sapped of vitality by its own self-conscious, curatorial fastidiousness. It takes place entirely in a universe of tropes and archetypes, which is a polite way of saying clichés and pretensions.” Rex Reed in the New York Observer puts it more bluntly: “For a big star, Brad Pitt chooses to waste his talent in boneheaded ways that never cease to amaze me. .. To a growing list of dumbbell duds … you can now add a filthy, pretentious, brutally violent and utterly pointless load of rubbish called Killing Them Softly.” Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times argues that the movie presents Pitt at his best. “While his last big at-bat, Moneyball, was a far better movie, there is an effortlessness here in the way Pitt turns small scenes into defining moments. Somehow he just keeps getting better at it,” she remarks. Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal notes that even at 97 minutes, the movie “crawls.” He too applauds the “star” — and it’s not who you think. “I’d say the credits got it wrong and the movie’s star is its cinematographer, Greig Fraser,” Morgenstern remarks “even though Brad Pitt is very good in a pivotal role and was mainly responsible for getting the movie made.” Claudia Puig in USA Today is among a minority of critics who have mostly positive things to say about the film. She describes it as “a clever thriller with a particularly meaty performance by Brad Pitt.” It’s “worth seeing,” she says, “for its sharp dialogue, mesmerizing photography and gritty performances.” Finally, without giving away much of the plot, Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times comments that the plot has already been given away in other, better films. “It seems as if I’ve been seeing versions of this story since forever,” he writes. “A cast is assembled from various flavors of tough guys, they’re placed in a dreary and joyless cityscape, they hold a series of fraught conversations, there is a great deal of suffering and blood, and most of them are required to die by the end.”