Killing Them Softly


United States 2012, 97 mins
Starring: Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini

Adapted from George V. Higgins' celebrated novel Cogan's Trade, Andrew Dominik's intense, nouveau-noir mob thriller is all business. Indeed, against the backdrop of Bush and Obama slugging it out through financial meltdown towards the 2008 election, the subtext is that brute commerce will win over idealism every time.

Mafia enforcer Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) must deal with the fallout from a high-stakes poker game run by Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta) that was held up by two opportunistic hoods. Markie is wrongly suspected of collusion, but the politics involved in keeping the cash flowing inclines Cogan to bring in Mickey (James Gandolfini), a respected heavyweight who turns out to be washed up. And then it gets nasty.

There's much of the violent bravura and stark imagery of Dominik's CHOPPER here, and the performances are uniformly and unsurprisingly high calibre.

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