Feb 22, 2021
On the podcast this week, Steven and Sean are, well, we’re not killing anybody, softly or… hardly? That’s for damn sure. I mean, Brad Pitt may be cool and all, and he makes a goatee look halfway decent, but the dude’s character is a straight-up contract killer in this one. We don’t support that. Anyway, this week it’s all about the 2012 film from Andrew Dominik, Killing Them Softly.
And let’s talk about Pitt’s performance. It’s entrancing. It’s quiet. It’s menacing in its kindness and grotesque in its violence. It’s also quite the thing to juxtapose next to his Jeffrey Goines character in 12 Monkeys. Have there ever been two more disparate people?
None are springing to mind. Hats off to this wonderful person. He’s been a real, self-made (arguably thanks to a great many talented people along the way) actor. He’s got humble beginnings growing up in Springfield, Missouri, and now he’s one of the most well-regarded actors of his time. It’s remarkable to see someone who knows what he’s capable of and is still willing to make relatively small films like this one. It goes to prove how humble and dedicated to his craft he is when he’s willing to take these non-flashy roles, although it’s still impossible to take your eyes off him.
Okay, enough gushing about this wonderful man. Onto the film!
Killing Them Softly boils down to being about the consequences a few men face after getting caught up in a robbery, and not being too smart after the event. Rule number one of robbing anyone: don’t run your damn mouth about the score afterwards! Should be pretty obvious, right?
There’s no shortage of stupid people out there and the stupidity of one of these characters ruins the good time everyone was having. What’s got to happen when the ledgers of powerful, violent people dip into the red? Well, someone’s got to balance those scales (I’ll stop mixing metaphors now). Pitt’s called in to take care of the mess these foolish thieves have gotten themselves into.
In this case, “take care of” doesn’t mean a stern talking to; people are going to die. In sometimes spectacular, slow-motion fashion.
It’s a simple film—there’s a robbery and then there are killings. Cause and effect. Doesn’t get much more straightforward than that. However, the film elevates this story with amazing visuals, some superb sound work, and acting that’ll knock your pants off. It may not be for everybody, but if you’re cool with violence and a slower-moving plot, this is definitely your cup of tea.
(Recorded on December 29, 2020)
Links to Stuff We Mentioned:
(Serious violence warning on this one if you’ve never seen Pulp Fiction before.)