Killing Them Softly: Screening Reaction

Brad Pitt in this year's Drive?

Brad Pitt always brings something to Cannes – be it Angelina Jolie, hoards of paparazzi or legions of fans.

So you could sense the anticipation for the 8.30am screening of Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly, as Pitt reunites with the director who so beautifully framed him in The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford.

Last time Pitt was in competition in Cannes, he gave a career best turn in Terrence Malick's Palme d'Or winner The Tree Of Life, and the time before that he carved a Swastika in Christoph Waltz’s head in Quentin Tarantino’sInglourious Basterds.

This time, as no-nonsense mob enforcer Jackie Cogan, hired to root out two chancers (Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn) who rob a high-stakes gambling den run by Ray Liotta’s crook, he’s leaving his mark on just about everyone in town.

Call it this year’s Drive if you like, but Killing Them Softly is the most striking crime flick of 2012, updating George V. Higgins’ 1974 novel Cogan’s Trade to include the backdrop of the 2008 US elections and economic meltdown.  Some of Dominik’s shots are pure poetry – brave, breath-taking, beautiful sequences that leave the jaw hanging.

If the reaction to the screening afterwards was somewhat mixed – the story is rather thin, the violence horrific and James Gandolfini’s ageing, booze-addled hitman an awkward creation – this still has the feeling of a modern-day Point Blank.

Dominik is never less than thoughtful; much like Jesse James, you will find low-key philosophising about the moment before the act of murder.

As for Pitt, hair slicked back, dressed in a leather jacket and brandishing a pump-action shotgun, it’s a lean, mean turn – destined for similar cult status to his Tyler Durden from Fight Club.

Big claim? Maybe. But this is Brad at his coolest, and for those who yearn for the glory days of 1970s US cinema, this feels like a wonderful throwback.

The new Drive? The new Point Blank? The new Fight Club? Or the emperor's new clothes? Give us your excitement rating immediately!


    • minorityreport

      May 22nd 2012, 17:34

      Drive, Fight Club, Point Blank, you're ringing all my bells. This is going into my "one to go see multiple times" column.

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    • joker16

      May 22nd 2012, 18:53

      "Last time Pitt was in competition in Cannes, he carved a Swastika in Christoph Waltz’s head in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds." Not correct, he was in competition last year with The Tree of Life. Anyway, Killing Them Softly looks head and shoulders above every other film at Cannes. From the sound of things, this will surely make my year-end top 5 list.

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    • ilikescifi

      May 23rd 2012, 1:50

      Good correction @Joker16, Tree of Life was amazing. And word up to all the stay at home moms earning $6823pm you sexy foxes

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    • fuzzydunlop1

      May 23rd 2012, 2:39

      Personally, I prefer the title 'Coogan's Trade'. No matter, this will be one to watch. While making money as a stay at home mom. Ker - CHING!

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    • MattMaytum

      May 23rd 2012, 8:35

      @joker16 - D'oh, that's been amended now.

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    • ChrisWootton

      May 23rd 2012, 9:47

      Wow, the cast alone (Mendelsohn especially) makes this a must watch in my book

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    • SiMan

      May 23rd 2012, 13:12

      Wonder if they didn't call it Coogans Trade in case people thought it was linked to that old Eastwood film Coogans Bluff - movie execs seem to be weird like that. I'm sure they think the movie-going public is stupid.

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    • Ali1748

      May 23rd 2012, 17:08

      I'll wait for the trailer.

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