Do not let the trailer fool you as it did many of the people that walked out of the cinema thinking that this was going to be something along the lines of a Quentin gore-filled, fast-paced, action flick. It isn’t. And thank God for that, not to sound like a snob or anything but if you had heard of Andrew Dominik or seen any of his previous work (The Assassination of Jesse James, Chopper) you would ultimately know what kind of film you were getting yourself into.
This story is based on the novel by George V. Higgins titled Cogan’s Trade. Dominik took that story and made it into a film that showcases the characters behind the gangsters and the toll the collapsing economy has taken on that field of business.
The plot is simple, there are petty gangsters and there are hard core, slick-haired, expressionless gangsters. Those petty ones decide on a senseless, thoughtless plan and the real deal is left to clean up the mess. The beauty within all that crime (as brutal as that may sound) is the characters involved in representing the twisted world of those kinds of people.
The cast includes Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins, Scoot McNairy and many other excellently cast actors. Putting all those A-listers together in one room is a feast for the eyes. The acting is exceptional and the writing is witty as it is criminal, this is after all a story about killers and what they do. The underlying black humour is delivered so meticulously that it just amazed me how some people simply could not sit through it. It is slow paced, yes, but ultimately not your typical really long film – the guy just likes to take his time with each scene and capitalise on those moments.
Throughout the film there are sound clips coming from George Bush and Barrack Obama stating what the economy is facing or will face, how Americans should stick together and so on. Placing those within the critical moments of the film made for a bigger impact within the delivery, as there are many moments within the film that seem very daunting when referring to everyday life, and when added with the burden of the economy just makes it sound all the more hopeless. That does not take away from the ‘gangster’ theme of the film either. There are some scenes that are pretty violent; I mean how else would a killer take care of business.
So, before you decide to see this film, remember to manage your expectations. I am huge fan of Dominik and his previous work so even if he had Brad Pitt wondering around looking like that on screen I really wouldn’t mind. But the fact of the matter is, this is not a film for everyone, it is brutal, dark and slow paced, and at times gory, which seemed to have suited a larger part of the male dominated audience (well the few that actually lasted until the end of the film).
I think overall the film is solid, the story is clear and the acting is just really excellent and carries the film through. The soundtrack and cinematography also must be applauded again as they were truly outstanding. I look forward to more Pitt/Dominik experiments that work very well together. A well deserved 8/10 from the very few satisfied customers.