At times, “Killing Them Softly”‘s brutal and stylized action is reminiscent of “Drive,” a modern classic of a similar genre.
The film is a social commentary on the forgotten American middle class through the backdrop of a robbery involving low-life amateurs and the mob. The result is a bit of a mixed bag, and the filmmakers would have been better off focusing either on the thematic elements and tone down the violence, or go all out on the action and do away with the social commentary.
The filmmakers’ choice to deliver its message through the voices of various political figures heard from the radio or television, rather than through dialogue between characters, feels heavy-handed. I’m skeptical of the notion that the lower working class / middle class people listen to this much politics on any given day.
While the film boasts a star-studded cast, headed by Brad Pitt, the characters don’t really sync well with the plot to hammer home its message. The characters themselves are not especially remarkable, either; Brad Pitt is his usual, dreamy self, playing a hit man a little too laid back, like someone who is going through chores instead of pursuing his objectives with intensity.
It’s not a bad film, by any means. But the hit and misses and tonal inconsistencies held this film back.