Killing Them Softly (Brad Pitt)

'Killing Them Softly' is an explosive gangster thriller starring Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta and Richard Jenkins. A longtime hanger-on in the wiseguy world, Johnny Amato (Vincent Curatola) has come up with a slick plan to roll a mob-protected card game. To complete the actual theft, Johnny turns to Frankie (Scoot McNairy), a jittery young crook who is fresh out of jail and flat broke, and Russell (Ben Mendelsohn), a gleefully seedy Australian junkie whose latest criminal enterprise involves dog theft. Presidential politics and America's financial crisis are all over the news, but it's little more than background noise to these three guys who are angling to make a quick score in a broken-down city. The conspirators feel assured of success, certain as they are that the mob's suspicions will immediately fall on the game's regular dealer, Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta).

But only a fool believes in a foolproof plan...With more bluster than brains, Frankie and Russell manage to pull off the robbery and escape without being recognized. But while Frankie, Russell and Johnny are busy congratulating themselves, the mob is taking steps to nip any problems in the bud by bringing in the seasoned enforcer Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) to investigate the heist and restore the status quo. Punishment must be exacted, but even more a message must be sent, to customers and would-be thieves alike: nothing and no one will be allowed to capsize the local criminal economy. Jackie brings his customary professionalism to the assignment, only to find himself navigating frustrating complications, including a finicky client that communicates through a buttoned-up middle-manager (Richard Jenkins), and a trusted colleague (James Gandolfini) who has turned surprisingly unpredictable. In the end, it is up to Jackie -- unflappable, efficient and thoroughly versed in the vagaries of killing -- to get the job done right.

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    December 3, 2012

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