Killing Them Softly starring Brad Pitt as a professional enforcer just came out in theaters today, November 30th 2012. An adaptation of the novel entitled “Cogan’s Trade”; Brad Pitt plays the character of Jackie Cogan who is investigating a heist that occurred during a high stakes poker game. Killing Them Softly is directed by Andrew Dominik who is known for the movie: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. This new crime film also stars Scoot McNairy, Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins and Ben Mendelsohn. Killing Them Softly has received great reviews ever since it premiered at the Palm d’Or in France, and is now being enjoyed by audiences throughout Europe. Let’s check out a movie review written by Anthony Lane:
“Pitt and Jenkins Gave Killing Them Softly A Brand New Theme
Why haven’t more movies stolen from George V. Higgins? He died in 1999, but his work remains a trove, begging to be raided for linguistic loot. If you want to grade postwar novelists on the strength of their ears alone—how fast they prick up at the crackle and blare of American speech—then Higgins and Elmore Leonard, you could argue, lead the pack, ahead of more distinguished names. The result, in Higgins’s case, could not be more perplexing, for, while we may be cheered by his verbal precision (and some of his books are very funny), the land to which he listens is marked by despair. His characters have plans instead of hopes, and most of them come to grief; their talk, for all its dirty music, is gone with the wind.
One film paid suitable tribute: “The Friends of Eddie Coyle” (1973), directed by Peter Yates, and starring Robert Mitchum. The novel, of the same name, was Higgins’s first, and its opening sentence delivered the kind of measured slap that older readers would associate with their earliest hit of Hemingway: “Jackie Brown at twenty-six, with no expression on his face, said that he could get some guns.” (I guess that Quentin Tarantino had the same reaction, because his third film, though adapted from a Leonard novel, was titled “Jackie Brown.”) Mitchum, unrushed and steady-eyed, was Higgins’s prose made flesh: however laid-back, he made you sit up. Since then, for anyone dying to hear more Higgins onscreen, there has been an inexplicable silence, although neither “The Sopranos” nor “The Wire” might have existed, in their garrulous form, without his example. Now, at last, the voice rings clear, in “Killing Them Softly”—written and directed by the New Zealand-born Andrew Dominik, and adapted from Higgins’s third novel, the masterly “Cogan’s Trade.”
Higgins was a lawyer by profession; from 1970 to 1973, he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts. When “The Friends of Eddie Coyle” came out, Norman Mailer said, “What I can’t get over is that so good a first novel was written by the fuzz.” For the most part, “Killing Them Softly” is fuzz-free, partly in line with Higgins’s devout and Dickensian interest in those who break or bend the law, but also because the bad guys seem so keen to police themselves, and to correct one another’s mistakes, that regular cops are superfluous. Take Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta), who runs an illegal gambling setup.”
The rest of the review can be read at The New Yorker
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