Killing Them Softly (Andrew Dominik, 2012)

What's it about? When a couple of low-life criminals rip-off a Mob protected card game, Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) is brought in to track them down and restore order and faith in the local criminal economy. Based on the George V Higgins novel Cogan's Trade.

Is it any good? A profane, violent, scuzzy (is that even a word?) neo-noir might sound like grim viewing, but this actually has a blackly comic streak to offset the rough stuff. As such, it has good fun demonstrating that, like most 'normal' workers, assassins and criminals are not only driven by money, but also have to deal with incompetence, indecisive superiors and bureaucracy in the course of their business. Of course, this is entirely deliberate as it essentially updates Higgins' novel to be a satirical microcosm of the circumstances that brought about the global recession, which is constantly referenced in TV reports in the background. These sideswipes at capitalism and the American Dream are perhaps a bit overcooked and it's a bit uneven in its pacing, but it's worth seeing, with Pitt, Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini and Scoot McNairy all on good form. Also, some great use of music throughout. Speaking of which...

Anything else I should know? Brad Pitt's first appearance is to the strains of Johnny Cash singing When The Man Comes Around. Naturally, the annoyingly good-looking Pitt doesn't need any help from the soundtrack to look cool, but it's a smart choice, because a recent study has shown that if this song is accompanying you when you go somewhere, it makes you 79% cooler. If you don't like it, you fail. At life.

What does the Fonz think? Cogan's Buff

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