Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Killing them softly (3½ Stars)

America's not a country. It's just a business. So fucking pay me!

This is a dark crime drama against the backdrop of the 2008 presidential elections. Nobody that we see is a good person, and we end up hating them all.

A semi-retired gangster hires two small-time crooks to rob an illegal poker game being run by mobsters. One of them talks too much when he's high on drugs, so Jackie Cogan, a professional hit man, is hired to kill them. "Killing them softly" refers to his method of killing. He explains that when you kill someone face to face it's a messy business. The victim pleads and begs, he pisses himself, and his blood splashes all over the killer. Jackie prefers to kill his victims softly, as he calls it. He shoots them from a distance, so they don't know who the killer is, and if the assassination runs smoothly they're dead before they even know it. That's a nice way to die.

It's doubtlessly a good film, with first rate performances from all the actors. The problem is simply that all the characters are without redeeming qualities. When I watch a film I want to take the part of one of the protagonists. I want him to succeed. In this film I had nobody I could relate to. I hated the crooks, I hated the hit man, I hated the mob bosses, I hated everyone.

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