By Chaz Lipp
Killing Them Softly didn’t strike much of a chord with moviegoers in November, 2012. Now on home video, this gritty look at the aftermath of a mob-controlled poker game robbery has a chance to reach more people. It’s exactly the kind of a movie that’s more suited for the intimacy of home viewing on a smaller screen. These days it seems like the multiplexes are dominated by theme park rides instead of movies. Hey, with current ticket and concession prices, I don’t blame patrons for wanting something livelier than Killing Them Softly. Were it not for the presence of star and co-producer Brad Pitt, this one might have bypassed the big screen altogether.
Add to that the fact that Pitt doesn’t appear on screen, as hitman Jackie Cogan, until well the film’s second act. The first is dominated by the brainless exploits of Frankie (Scoot McNairy) and Russell (Ben Mendelsohn), hired by Johnny “Squirrel” Amato (Vincent Curatola) to waltz into a backroom card game and with a sawed-off shotgun and walk out with everyone’s money. It’s Markie’s (Ray Liotta) game. He even warns the two dummies that the Mafia bosses will never let them survive this, going so far as to offer Russell the chance to walk out unscathed. Markie knows the pitfalls all too well, having successfully knocked over his own game in past with the assistance of two patsies similar to Russell and Frankie.