Killing them softly, brilliant fable in key film noir on the political and social situation in United States.
Brad Pitt meets with the director of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford to star in one of the best films of the year. And also one of the most difficult to define or classify. With The Assassination of Jesse James… Andrew Dominik somehow reformulated the western genre codes leading to another generic territory more broad and complex. With Killing them softly repeated that maneuver getting a black film frame becomes a parable about the economic, political and social being defined these days, not only in the U.S.A. but in almost anywhere in the world.
Adaptation of the novel by George V. Higgins, Killing them softly begins with a dialogue between two low-class criminals that reminds Jim Jarmush films. The two types could be the future more dramatic and dark of the stars of Strangers Than Paradise, for example. From there progressing toward a moment of its own film noir suspense in its crook story aspect and begins to reveal her true nature as a movie choral prominence, supported by a cast featuring especially the contributions of Ray Liotta and James Gandolfini.
The film essentially built on the talent of its actors. Long dialogues. Very literary in some sequences. Precisely that is why which includes some brilliant moments, such as the dialogues of Gandolfini with Pitt in the bar and in the hotel. Next to these lengthy dialogue sequences beyond what is usual in the epileptic and nervous current cinema, and without breaking the narrative rhythm, the film includes three or four moments of action fully differentiated among themselves. The director has applied a formula different from telling every one of them. Toggles the approach to slow, visually more gimmicky and overloaded in the first murder committed by the Pitt character, with a perspective more cold and distant, almost documentary, in the last murders or the brutal beating the character of Ray Liotta. This shows again that violence in the cinema, much more embellished and distorted so visually, it is more spectacular, but at the same time it is less disturbing than when shown completely devoid of decorations. More cold. Harder. The way in which the character Pitt perpetrated the lasts murders, as an everyday activity that is just for him is one job, is much more disturbing than the choreography of images slow however spectacular the shooting scene in the cars. Same thing happens in the rest of the sequences of the film. The brutal fight to Liotta is finally less disturbing than the confession of the fall in hell that stars James Gandolfini’s character simply with the dialogue, without any action sequence.
The balance between the different parts that make up this puzzle become a kaleidoscope in which characters from the criminal world that seem out of the collection of stupid but endearing criminals from Elmore Leonard’s novels are suddenly stuck in situations that look like something out of a novel of dirty realism and minimalist Raymond Carver. Listen to the Hitman played by Gandolfini talk about the past and the problems with his wife’s almost like rereading a paragraph some text of Carver, as for example The elephant. The criminal story is engulfed in that curious mixture by the description of characters that are expressed through what they say, and not necessarily so make. Something unusual in the film of our time. Something that is appreciated. Something that makes this film one of the best I’ve seen this year. An interesting example of crime film that does not also belittles the audience limited to launch a fast-paced action sequences chained. On the contrary. Requests and get our complicity to organize the pieces of that puzzle of marginal characters, mistreated and sentenced to find each other and brutally crash.
Killing Them Softly includes also a curious detail in the role as the narrator of the character of Brad Pitt, who guides us through the history with his dialogues with your employer and eventually become part of the same. That formula allows the director to go creating a growing strain on the emergence in the lives of the rest of the characters that we are presenting this murderer, one of the best works of Brad Pitt in recent times. Incorporation of the character to the story that is dynamic and fluid as the rest of the rhythm of the narration.
In conclusion: one of the best associations of literature and cinema, a good example of adaptation of the literary narration to the needs of cinematic storytelling.
Miguel Juan Payán
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