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Killing Them Softly

November 28, 2012 by  

Killing Them Softly, An adaptation of George V. Higgins’s 1974 novel Cogan’s Trade, Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly anatomizes a self-policing underground economy of junkies, killers and administrators to indict a present-day mainstream world — the world into which the film is being released by Harvey Weinstein, heralded by misleadingly generic TV adverts wedged into halftime breaks — by suggesting that the criminal satellite economy and the “straight” superstructure are functionally the same.

Dominik’s last film, the woefully under-seen The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, also explored the distinctly American mirroring between outlaw life and “normal” business; where that film was so painterly as to almost turn its subject into an abstraction, Killing Them Softly leaves no question as to its “real” reason for being. It’s a movie that shows, and then tells, tells, and tells again, its vibrant conjuring of contemporary cynicism felled by Dominik’s lack of faith in his audience’s ability to connect thematic dots.

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