Iffy for 17+
Brad Pitt is magnetic in smart, cynical, bloody crime movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Killing Them Softly -- a crime movie based on a 1970s novel by George V. Higgins and starring Brad Pitt -- has a few extremely violent beatings and killings, with lots of spurting blood. Language is also very strong and frequent, including an almost constant use of "f--k." One character is shown having slept with a prostitute (though there's no nudity), and there's some very crass sex talk in a few scenes. A character is a drug dealer and uses heroin in a vivid scene, and another character is an alcoholic. Overall the movie has a shockingly cynical worldview, but smart older teens and adults might be interested in thinking about and discussing what it has to say.
- Families can talk about Killing Them Softly's violence. How does the impact of what you see here compare to what's in horror/slasher movies? What does it mean when Pitt's character talks about killing his targets "softly"? Does he actually do that?
- Is James Gandolfini's character an alcoholic? What makes him drink? Does he appear to be drinking for pleasure? Are there consequences for his drinking?
- Do you agree with the main character's assessment that America is a business and not a community? Why or why not?
- Why is the movie set in 2008? What does the story have in common with the financial collapse and the election of that year?
The good stuff
Messages: This extremely cynical movie sees all of America, including organized crime, as a corporation focused mainly on the bottom line. It denies that there's anything like community, and posits that people -- in reality -- generally don't care about one another.
Role models: The characters in this movie are hit men, alcoholics, whoremongers, gamblers, gangsters, robbers, junkies, and drug dealers, not to mention selfish and greedy. Not one of them learns any lessons during the course of the story.
What to watch for
Violence: Three characters are shot and killed, with lots of spurting blood. One of the hits is shown in ultra-slow-motion, with blood and brains spraying in great detail. A character is beaten senseless, with more spurting blood (and vomit). Two criminals are shown driving a carload of kidnapped dogs, with dog excrement all over the windows. The car is blown to smithereens and crashes into a bystander.
Sex: A scene begins just after a character completes a transaction with a prostitute. She zips up her dress and collects her money (no nudity shown). There's some very crass sex talk in this scene and others.
Language: Language is extremely strong and frequent, mainly in the use of "f--k" and its various permutations. Other words include "s--t," "c--k," "p---y," "a--hole," "ass," "anus," "nuts," "screw," "d--k," "prick," "hell," "damn," and "bastard," as well as "for Christ's sakes" and "Jesus" (as an exclamation). Characters also give the middle finger.
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs and smoking: One secondary character is a drug dealer and is shown shooting heroin. The movie tries to replicate the experience of being on heroin by showing the character's point of view as he nods off during a conversation. Another secondary character is shown to be an alcoholic, chugging down martinis and beers and later whisky. The main character drinks a few swigs of beer in more than one scene.
Fan Reviews provided by
IF YOU NEED HOLLYWOOD TO TELL YOU HOW TO THINK... by Blue_Dog
Shoot'em up Tarantino knock-off bloody urban gangster film is inter-spliced with video and audio from the 2008 banking crisis to make a metaphorical statement about the soullessness and money grubbery of American society.
If you are too thick to get the point, Mr. Pitt does a soliloquy at the end to ensure you are indoctrinated, "America is not a country. It's a business!" Elegant.
Thank you Mr. Pitt. I've been living here over five decades, but I needed you to tell me about this nation. Just what I wanted, to pay my coins to have filthy rich Hollywood artistes bash me over the head with trite political commentary. Turned out to be bad gangster film and bad political analysis. Just Brad Pitt pretending to have gravitas. He should marry Sara Jessica Parker.
Liked it by leoncia73
My husband and I enjoyed the film, it seems slow at times, but suddenly something happens, we saw it a a dark comedy sometimes, but also a good critic to our society, if you go, it is worthy to watch the entire film, just to hear the last words from Brad Pitt.
Killing them softly by Moore_JamesIII
Very good movie. Very Tarantini-ish in that the violence is plentiful and graphic. A no-nonsense hit man movie. The director whose name I can't recall is a bit of a political cynic, but I tend to agree with his view.
A waste of time, machinery and film by lotajoy
I dont think I have ever seen a worst film. Impressions are given that it is a mob shoot em up movie and it turns out to be a political diatribe of Bush, the Obama campaign (always on a radio or TV in a bar) One or two songs and they are from the fifties. Now the mob are a bunch of old timers that talk trash about women and cant get an approval for a hit. The cars are from the 70s. Nothing went together. But the shooting was super loud to wake you up from all the boring stupid conversation that droned on and on.......DONT GO...
Vey bad movie by johnson2719
Under no circumstances pay to see this movie. Acting is good but it another movie trying to make a politcal statement. Make sure you ask the usher to wake you up at the end of the movie. I want my money back.
Horrible!! by aallmand76
I saw the previews and it said it was a thriller and Brad Pitt had a Oscar nominated performance. The movie was so boring and a total waste of time and money. Brad Pitt didn't even appear until the middle of the movie and all the interesting parts were people getting shot in the head which at parts didn't make sense! Soooo much talking. If I wouldn't have been on a date, I would have left in the middle... no the beginning of the movie. I highly recommend no one watch this movie just because Brad Pitt is in it. I hope I can save some people money. Also don't bring your kids because of the foul language, drugs, and very bloody scenes.
Don't Bother by VegasBluebird
No way to put a good spin on it - "Killing Them Softly" is just plain bad. Pretentious and dull, this movie thinks it is far better than it is. Not sure why the critics are raving about it. About halfway through, I was thinking I would have rather just gone to bed early to catch up on my sleep, and it never got better. Oh well, at least the popcorn was decent.
Tarantino alike but on steroids *HORRIBLE* by fastaccess2004
This movie reminded me of mom and aunt conversations but stretched over 2 1/2 hours. It took 5 minutes of film to show someone getting shot. Slow motion shooting, flashing screens that do not make any sense. 90% of the film is dialogue unrelated to the movie, 9% with Obama's speeches and 1% of trash. Half the audience walked out, save your movie!
HORRID WASTE OF TIME FROM EVERY ASPECT by TopBull1
What in the world was Brad Pitt thinking taking this role? I should have known....any movie with Ray Liotta in it is usually pretty bad, but this is a complete and total boring waste of everyone's time......felt like a 5 hour long movie and we kep waiting, thinking something interesting was going to happen to make this movie have a point, but no.....horrid through and through with absolutely no redeeming qualities. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY OR YOUR TIME - LEARN FROM MY MISTAKE. DISGRACE OF A MOVIE.
Softly Putting Them To Sleep by MedRed
The Good: The art direction is amazing. Between it and the great acting, you believe everything put forth on the screen. I could literally smell the filth and dog poop on Russell. His perpetual sweat was absolutely disgusting.
The Bad: This movie is terribly slow. Killing Them Softly would have worked much better as an HBO Series where the bloated dialogue would be justified by the emotional attachment built up for characters over a period of time. This movie is unoriginal and very predictable.
This movie would have been much better under Ritchie, Tarantino, or Scorsese.