Customer Review

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Criminal Underworld Microcosmos As Politcal Analogy, 17 Mar 2013
This review is from: Killing Them Softly [DVD] (DVD)
Andrew Dominick's latest film is clearly one that has and will continue to split opinion. On the one hand it is a tighly wound & incredibly slow burning black comedy thriller about America's filthy underbelly & on the other a polictical analogy & highly serious film dealing with heavy issues. Much has been made of the films polictical undercurrent. Some find it heavy handed, too obvious or just plain intrusive. In truth, it didn't really bother me too much. I knew before watching that it was going to be there & that there would be heavy media soundbites to act as a constant reminder of the directors intentions. It is entirely possible to watch the film as a straight crime drama, albeit an incredibly bleak, unpatronising & at times quite funny crime drama. To concentrate too much on the polictical & economic message, no matter how culturally relevant now as it was when the film was set (2008) would be to take away from what the film achieves.

It's true that the film is slow, concentrates on it's characters heavy dialogue & is incredibly nihilistic & bleak. Misogyny, male rage & the futility of the criminal lifestyle are all examined by Dominick's uncompromising eye & yet looking past that, I found this film strangely exhilarating & enjoyable in a grim sense. There is a strange, yet distinctive style to this film that gives it the feel of a neo-noir. The director has an incredible feel for the language of cinema & expertly creates tension in several of the scenes notably the heist & the beating of Ray Liotta's character, which I found to be one of the nastiest & most effectively seen in films of this type. What's also interesting is the films re-imagining of the gangster film. The characters are gangsters by definition but there is no glamourising, no sentimentality or romanticism shown towards them. They are scum & will live & die that way. It is also a film about men and has very few, if any female characters. The light in which these characters is shown is a definite comment on the anger & clipped machismo apparent within criminal society, which is dominated by men (possibly a suggestion of society in general?).

I personally feel the gangster film & crime drama in general needs this type of alternative cinema, much like Nicholas Winding Refn's 'Drive'. It might be the fact that Andrew Dominick is an Australian working in America with mainly American actors & thus has an outsiders view on the American crime drama which has helped create what I think is a very original film. Much like 'Drive', this film has a style & creative energy although it may not be as immediately apparent. It's certaintly not as stylish or self consciously cool as Refn's film & I think that works in it's favour. For all the criticism levelled at the film's political message, the subtlety of style & pacing, much like his previous film 'The Assassination of Jesse James..', displays Dominicks gift for judging the length of his films & a clever use of structure & technique. I dont think 'Killing' is quite as good as his previous effort, some scenes felt a little out of place & too much like style over substance, but on the whole it is still a very well balanced & creative work.

If you are not bothered by slow moving, character & dialogue based cinema, you may enjoy this more than you think. The acting by all involved, particularly Brad Pitt as detached hitman Coogan, Ben Mendelsohn's amoral drug addict & Richard Jenkins as the maffia middleman, is fantastic & worth the watch alone. Maybe not a classic but certainly a film I will return to & worth 90 odd minutes of your time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

2.9 out of 5 stars (128 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (28)
4 star:
 (26)
3 star:
 (17)
2 star:
 (16)
1 star:
 (41)
 
 
 
£19.99 £3.90
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Top Reviewer Ranking: 441,933