Killing Them Softly

Posted: November 30, 2012 by jperritt in Action, Drama, Thriller
Tags: , , , , ,

killing-them-softly-poster1I guess Brad Pitt likes working with director Andrew Dominik.  This is only their second collaboration (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford being their first), but Dominik has only directed three films.  Plus, Dominik apparently just texted Pitt about the film and he simply replied yes.  Instead of going through agents and his people calling Pitt’s people, he simply went to the source.  I wonder what the intrigue of this film was?  What was it about this story and this director that moved one of Hollywood’s most popular stars to say yes?

Killing Them Softly follows Jackie Cogan, an enforcer who has been sought after to restore normalcy to the Mob.  After two “dumb guys” rob a Mob protected poker game, the criminals turn to the corrupt Cogan to ensure the furthering of corruption.  Using corruption to further corruption makes sense.  Truth is the only thing which causes corruption to cease, therefore, we would agree with the premise of this film.  Corruption breeds corruption.

Artistic Agony

KTS is said to be a film that’s not for the squeamish.  One critic has labeled the film as beautifully brutal.  There’s no doubt that movies dealing with rough content can be beautiful – Saving Private Ryan is just one example.  We know it is important to have faithful portrayals of sin and we must appreciate that to some degree, however, KTS is said to be beautiful because of the artistic style of violence.

Supposedly, Dominik, employs the use of slow-motion to some scenes of violence in the film.  I haven’t seen the film but I’ve read about a slow-motion scene of a bullet passing through the hand and head of an unfortunate criminal.  Beautiful, right?  While I know KTS is a film some Christians have liberty to view, artistic violence is something to be cautious of.  While I understand that slow-motion is beautiful, and there’s no doubt it can be considered art, reveling in the offing of a fellow image-bearer isn’t something we should label as beautiful.

Comedic Corruption

Another aspect of KTS, which should be reflected upon, is the humor which is said to be in the film.  Again, the film follows the Mob, criminals, and enforcers killing and torturing one another.  While I have laughed at my share of dark comedies, this is a gray area Christians must be cautious of.

I understand that humorous instances can happen in everyday life, but let’s be cautious of what we call funny.  Christians must set up parameters of what we laugh at.  I understand that there will still be gray areas for us as Christians, but this film is filled with corruption so let’s give pause to its portrayals of funny.


Personally, I really like Brad Pitt’s acting and I know Andrew Dominik is a talented director.  We must appreciate good stories, quality acting, and excellent cinematography, like that of KTS.  Even though Christians have liberty to watch such films, we still must be cautious of certain aspects and, at least, reflect on these aspects that possibly contradict our Christianity.  Christian liberty does not give us the right to disengage our minds and refuse to wrestle with the gray areas this film most assuredly presents.

Just some thoughts as you possibly head to the theater this weekend.


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