Johnny Amato (Vincent Curatola) runs a dry cleaning business and is a low level crime entrepreneur. He hires two guys to rob a poker game filled with organized criminals. Frankie (Scoot McNairy) is the lead robber, a man who is a Steve Buscemi type. He has help from an unkempt Australian junkie friend named Russell (Ben Mendelsohn), who walks pets for a living. He hopes to be a drug dealer to change his life.
The reason why they believe they can get away with the job is because Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta) had done this job once before. He will surely be blamed. After the job is pulled, hitman Jackie (Brad Pitt) is brought in to sort things out and make things right. Jackie is thoughtful, soft spoken, and cynical. Since he knows Johnny, he hires Mickey (James Gandolfini) to do the job, a man who has multiple issues.
There are a number of things which set this film apart from other crime movies. First is the dialouge. It is clear the people are uneducated, except for Jackie who speaks as if he lives in two worlds. The ignorance of the robbers is brought to light when they wear bright yellow cleaning gloves to perform their task.
The second aspect is the background sound on both the radio, TV, and jukeboxes. It is the macrocosm of what is happening on the screen, and sometimes in an ironic fashion. The time period is the 2008 election season during the financial collapse. We hear "restore confidence in the financial system" and "it's all too familiar" on the radio when Markie is about to take the fall. Every time "B" actor Ray Liotta got punched or kicked, I would think, This is for "Entitled" or This is for "Ticket Out." Here is one for "The Son of No One."
The symbolism of the background announcements is brought to light at the end, in case you failed to catch it in the opening scene. A smart film for people who enjoy crime dramas.
Parental Guide: F-bombs, no sex, no nudity. Blood splatter, killing, beatings.