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:: Killing Them Softly

Based on the book “Cogan's Trade” by George V. Higgins, Andrew Dominik's grim thriller follows a mobbed poker game that is robbed, and the people behind this robbery, need to be dealt with. Enter Brad Pitt, who seem to have built rapport with Australian writer-director Dominik, playing the mafia hitman finishing the job.

Fine performances from Scoot McNairy, a twitchy stick-guy and his putrid without drugs partner Ben Mendelsohn were pleasures to watch, while Pitt's detachments to emotions conjure a minutely unnerving atmosphere. Having him as the quietly startling hitman is a matter of prized treasure. Richard Jenkins is the mob lawyer, busied in constantly exchanging coldly humoured conversations. James Gandolfini is casted as a high-end mafia hitman; he's the most engrossing person in the film, in all frankness.

Seeing this stupendous selection of actors in one screen is a golden feeling, but it doesn't exactly salve the movie's exceeding violence and black-and-white characters. Everyone is buff and able to break someone's cartilage or rip off someone's jugular at will, and sometimes its all you think of on them: contrived criminals on script - not exactly human. The dark humor in the film prove entertaining at first, but it only takes awhile before you encounter and deduce the issues.

Dominik's film-noir promised an astounding and thought-provoking two-hour venture, but its superficial characterisation and coldness comes in Killing Them Softly's way, keeping it from accomplishing what needs to be accomplished.