Monday, December 2, 2019

#29- America's a Business, Now Fucking Pay Me.

Killing Them Softly (2012) 



What's a Life Worth in America? That is what I believe to be the central question in Andrew Dominiks' brilliant, ultra modern crime drama, Killing Them Softly. Look, I'm a sucker for lower budget indie dramas that don't assume you're stupid and decide to walk you by the hand through the movie. I love to live in the world that so many people have taken the time to construct for me. Killing Them Softly has a world so lived in, that if I watch it again, I'm afraid I might have to start paying rent.

Fuck! where do I even start with the things I love about this movie? I think I'll start with Scoot McNairy's performance as Frankie, the low life small time crook. His performance is so good that during the re-watch I almost said fuck it and turned this into a Scoot McNairy appreciation blog. His portrayal of a struggling lower class ex-con is just a revelation. He's a man so deep in a hole of his own creation that he'll never realize its his grave. I want nothing more than to reach down and pull him out, but alas his fate is forever sealed. Cause you know its like, a movie...

Our Lord and Savior

Also dude we have take a minute and talk about Ben Mendelsohn. If McNairy is a low life, Mendelsohn is a ground-level dirt-bag. Lower than that even, septic tank low. He's absolutely disgusting...and I love it. Great actors make you believe that they've lost themselves in their performance, blurred the line between reality and fiction so completely that it disappears almost entirely. Every time I watch Mendelsohn in this film I question if his line even exists or not. I wonder what kind of prep he did for this movie, cause if I didn't know better I'd say he spent it in a row of flophouses mainlining shitty heroin and stealing peoples dogs for the reward money. Every time he's on screen I feel like I have to wash the veneer of sweat and filth off my TV.



Its ridiculous that I've gone this long and not mentioned Brad Pitt. The fact that I truly believe he is the third best actor in this film should speak volumes. That is not an indictment of his performance. He is obviously stellar, as he is in everything. If every one else is a rat wriggling around in the dumpster that is this films America, then Pitt is the rat that found the ham I threw away because I dropped it on the ground and my dog ate some of it. He's the embodiment of the American dream gone awry. His Character "Coogan" gives us some of the details that flush out this particular mob universe we're visiting, but honestly we don't get much, and that is a good thing. It leaves us to fill in the cracks ourselves. We've all seen this world before because it's our world. I mean the stakes at the heart of this movie's conflict is a mere 40 thousand dollars.

This is a movie that is simultaneous hilarious and utterly depressing. The preparation for the big robbery scene in the movie might be the funniest thing I've seen in a non-comedic movie in years and the way James Gandofini is an absolute shithead to anyone that has the displeasure of coming into contact with him is absurdly funny. Oh yeah, Gandolfini plays an ill-mannered mob hit man, whose clearly depressed. He's in this for like 10 minutes, but he packs so much emotion and cold reality into this role that I feel like I could write a novel about him, at least a short story. He just chews up absolutely every scene he is in, and is obviously magnificent.



The social commentary can be a little heavy handed at times. Obama and Bush essentially have starring roles as the movie constantly sets them in the background talking about the economy on either a TV or a radio. I like it though, even if its a bit on the nose, the message really hits home to people like myself that have grown up in low income housing and have had periods of doing whatever it takes to make it in America.

I really fucking love this movie and I've, no shit, seen it like 9 or 10 times. I'm just asking you to watch it once. I've conducted my business here, now fucking pay me.




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