Brad Pitt in Killing them Softly
Another gangster film set in the US directed by film antipodean Andrew Dominik and starring Brad Pitt was screened in competition at the Cannes Film festival on Tuesday. Killing them Softly had some people squirming in their seats.
If you see US actor Ray Liotta of Goodfellas fame in the credits, you expect a gangster film and violence. And you get it in this one.
In fact, its Ray Liotta who gets a double dose.
While some people in the audience were troubled by the visible, bloody scenes, all that was a vehicle for a different kind of violence.
Throughout the film, in snatches, mostly in the background, we hear US politicians, then senator Barack Obama and then President George W. Bush, facing the subprime crisis which brought down Wall Street and called the US financial system into question.
Brad Pitt produced the film and plays the role of the smart gangster who's worked out the world he lives in.
Pitt told the press conference that he and his production partner are always looking for stories that talk about today and films that are difficult to get made.
Wrapped up in underworld intrigue, Dominik, makes a social comment about the state of affairs in the world’s biggest economy and its capacity to be at the same time a cohesive society.
He sidesteps the basic gangster genre and an excess of the in-your-face physical violence with some clever editing and slow motion. A murder where the camera focus lingers on the firing of bullets and the shattering of a car window say a lot for Dominik’s style.
There’s more in the title than just a take-off on the popular song.