Brad Pitt is an odd actor, as it happens. With his matinee idol good looks, and ridiculously toned physique, you’d think he’d be set fair for a nice, safe career in mainstream movies and nothing more (He’s married to Angelina Jolie for f*&%’s sake!).
It’s clear though, that he’s always yearned for respect, respect as a serious actor, and as an artist (or should that be ‘artiste’?). If he is slightly limited as an actor (he can’t have everything), he’s often made the most of what talent he has (I’m not knocking the guy, he’s a good actor, just not a great one). And with that talent, he’s taken a loose version of the ‘one for you, one for me’ approach to his film choices. He’s gone for studio-shmoozing, mainstream successes like Ocean’s Eleven and Mr and Mrs Smith, but he’s also dared to stray outside his comfortable spotlight, and done more left-field flicks such as Twelve Monkeys and Burn After Reading.
So, with this penchant for the not-so-mainstream fare in mind, it’s perhaps no surprise that his latest film is another collaboration with Aussie auteur, Andrew Dominik. Pitt worked with Dominik on the divisive, but (at least in my opinion) majestic The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. This was a film that was at an immediate disadvantage, in a lot of ways. Brad Pitt’s mainstream fans would be turned off by the length and glacial pacing of the movie, and those drawn to the film by Dominik’s debut (the Eric Bana-launching Chopper) wouldn’t know what to expect from a film so different in setting and subject matter. Upon its release, despite gorgeous cinematography, a wonderful, intentionally charisma-less performance from Casey Affleck and some rave (some not so rave) reviews, the film more or less tanked. Box Office Mojo has it down as making $15 million from a $30 million budget. Not exactly gangbusters.
Killing Them Softly is a crime tale in which Brad Pitt plays Cogan, a point man (a sort of scout) working for a hitman who begins to look into an audacious robbery of the mob’s assets. A simple enough story that clearly has a lot of potential to take some dark twists and turns. The early reviews coming out of festivals have been positive, and since Andrew Dominik was able to use Brad Pitt’s real-life star persona to draw possibly his best performance out of him in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, we have reasons to be optimistic about this one. Reasons to be negative are: the involvement of Harvey “Scissorhands” Weinstein, and that we really don’t know what to expect from Andrew Dominik at this stage.
It’s likely that this film probably won’t have huge fanfare around its autumn debut, despite the involvement of the Weinsteins. So this is the perfect opportunity to nonchalantly recommend it to friends and thenceforth be worshipped as some kind of film-recommending GOD.
Killing Them Softly will probably be released circa October in your local independent Cinema. Check out the trailer below, and feel free to leave comments ALL IN CAPSLOCK and abusing my mother, if that’s what works for you.