I saw this movie accidentally. I actually went to the cinema to see something else, but because I fail at life, I showed an hour late but still bought a ticket for the show (I used a kiosk, so there was no worker to say “hey dummy, do you really want to buy a ticket for a showing that started an hour ago?”). I even walked into the half-over movie because the ticket ripper guy had no clue either (perhaps he’s my soul mate??). When I realized what I did, at first I thought I’d simply ask for a refund–but that would mean not only admitting how clueless I was to the workers, but also what movie I paid to see (it has sparkly vampires in it…don’t worry, I’m duly ashamed…but also I will try again next week).
So instead I ducked into an adjacent theatre, which had a showing of Killing Them Softly coming up in 20 minutes. This wasn’t entirely unwelcome; I liked writer/director Andrew Dominik’s previous effort, The Assassination of Jesse James, overly long or not, and Brad Pitt is good, and also mob movies are fine enough. Unfortunately, what looks good on paper isn’t always so. The film lacked a lead protagonist, even though the poster & tv spots would have you believe it’s Brad Pitt, which hindered the story in my opinion. When dealing with such dark themes & characters that are probably unlike 95% of moviegoers, it’s really hard to sympathize or care about anyone when we aren’t really allowed to. I mean, the whole point was that America ‘isn’t a country but a business’ or whatever, you know, ‘capitalism and greed r bad’ etc etc so maybe we aren’t supposed to identify with anyone on screen, but on that point, shouldn’t we? Shouldn’t we see our country reflected back at us, even if in a small way, like through a character’s experiences? As it is, it’s so easy to keep the film & characters at arm’s length. I certainly didn’t identify with the America in Killing Them Softly, and I’ve lived in America just about my entire life.
Most of the humor fell flat for me as well. I did laugh a couple of times, but there were few scenes where I kept thinking ‘is that supposed to be funny?’ which is not a good sign. And then there were scenes where I definitely *knew* it was supposed to be funny, but…no. Like a dog farted once. Ha ha? Now I’m less horrified buy this murdering I guess.
I also thought there were too many scenes that went on too long, and by that I am talking about James Gandolfini. Ugh, whenever he started talking I began to contemplate getting up and leaving because there were definitely better things out there for me. Like food. I’m hungry!
And one of the characters basically seemed like the poor man’s Casey Affleck from Good Will Hunting. I kept waiting for someone to throw a double burger at him. And then one at me because I’m hungry!
Verdict: Shut up James Gandolfini, and please do better next time Andrew Dominik. C-