Killing Me Softly

First Hit:  The not so subtle killings, the state of the economy, and a thugs life are oddly displayed here.

Three dumb smart guys think they’ve got a way to crash and rob a mob protected card game of about $30 – $50K. Because Markie (played by Ray Liotta) is hosting the game and it is believed he had previously robbed his own game, the three dumb smart guys Frankie (played by Scott McNairy), Russell (Ben Mendelsohn), and Johnny (Vincent Curatola) think that robbing the game, the mob will think Markie did it again, kill him and they’ll get off scot-free.

At first they think they are in the clear but then the mob catches on. Jackie (played by Brad Pitt) is the lead hit-man for the mob and is assigned to kill the perpetrators of the robbery because these games need to be trouble free and the mob's money protected.

In the background during this film there are multiple snippets of Bush talking about the instability of the economy as well as Obama talking about what he would do to change the economy along with how unprotected our money is.

All this is to give the audience an impression that mob life and their freedom to control the safety and free flowing-ness of their ill begotten money is as sacred and reflects the trouble and required for the safety of our money in the economy. Jackie doesn’t want to “do” all three of the dumb smart guys so he hires Mickey (played by James Gandolfini) who appears to be at the end of his usability. He spends all his time and money drinking any alcohol he can find, screwing as many whores he can hire and is fatalistic in that he thinks his wife is going to leave him and he’ll end up back in prison.

His scenes are strong, very powerful and watchable, but you can’t help but think this guy is on the fast track to death. With this new problem, Jackie also has the issue of working with new mob hierarchy which he requires approval from the mob HQ to make these hits and the price must be negotiated to make each hit. But Jackie being and "in charge guy" takes care of all the problems as quickly as he can.

I’m not really clear about the point of this film, because of the pointed background dialogue about the economy, community, and how hard it is to make changes within the economic community in America and how it is congruent with the difficulty of getting permission and getting the right price for wacking someone who steals from the mob.

It might have been better without this twist. But the tagline was suppose to set the audience free: "In America you're on your own."

Liotta is clearly sufficient as guy who got away with something once but probably should be wacked anyway. McNairy is very good as the guy trying to be a smart dumb guy. Mendelsohn was fantastic as the smart dumb guy who is so stoned but believes he’s got his game together. Pitt is good but he felt restrained in this role for some reason. Gandolfini is fabulous and the hit man who has run his course and running out of gas. Andrew Dominik wrote and directed this film and neither were great, although some of the scenes were shot very well.

Overall:  This was a mediocre film and boarding on being less than mediocre, but the few outstanding performances keep it from totally failing.