Killing them softly


(Talky, violent caper movie)

Talk, talk, talk. Kill somebody. Talk, talk, talk. Kill somebody. That's the gist of this disappointing movie that wastes the talents of a good cast of actors.
It opens with a pair of low-level hoods (Ben Mendelsohn and Scott McNairy) talking endlessly. We learn about a hood (Ray Liotta) who runs illegal high-stakes poker games, set up a fake robbery and got away with it.
How about if they rob the guy and everyone will think he pulled the caper again?
Enter Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt), a hired gun who likes to eliminate his victims from a distance ("killing them softly”) so he doesn't have to listen to them whining for their lives. Jackie meets with the unseen mob boss's middleman (Rhode Island's Richard Jenkins) on more than one occasion to discuss the arrangements. The meetings are held in a car under a bridge in the rain, I guess for atmosphere. Jenkins, as always, makes the most of his aloof, low-key, methodical character. Unfortunately, it is not enough to save the weak plot.
Jackie hires an alcoholic hitman (James Gandolfini) to eliminate one of the characters while he handles his partner. Gandolfini is a great actor, but he is given long, boring lines to fill spaces between blowing people to bits.
Meanwhile, in the background, radios and TVs spout political and financial news in between old songs. The message is that crime is a business, just like the American way is all about the money. Ho hum.
Rated a big R with violence, profanity and drugs.


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