SUNDAY 7:30 AM, 3RD UPDATE: No change in the three top movies’ order at the domestic box office: Summit Entertainment’s Twilight Saga finale Breaking Dawn Part 2 is #1 for the third weekend in a row, the …
Brad Pitt’s ‘Killing Them Softly’ Dies With ‘F’ CinemaScore As Twilight Saga, James Bond, And ‘Lincoln’ Dominate Box Office Yet Again
Here’s the latest trailer for writer-director Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly, based on George V. Higgins’ novel Cogan’s Trade. Brad Pitt stars as a mob enforcer/hit man in The Weinstein Company release that opens November 30th. The movie also features Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins and James Gandolfini:
Killing Them Softly, the last of the films from The Weinstein Company in the Cannes Film Festival‘s official selection – and easily the distributor’s most controversial, politically at least – is premiering tonight. Star Brad Pitt made the day of the paparazzi who kept incessantly yelling “Brad! Brad! Brad!” at the pre-press conference photo call even as his co-stars and director Andrew Dominik stood virtually ignored in the same shots. Pitt marks the biggest star presence yet at the festival: Showing his true power, even the rainy skies turned blue, the temperature outside heated up and the sun came out just in time for his hike up the Palais’ red-carpeted steps.
The film, on which Pitt and partner Dede Gardner were among the producers through their Plan B shingle, is a tough-as-nails, tight, noirish and brutal crime thriller that boasts an ensemble of exceptionally fine performances. That includes Pitt as an strictly all-business hit man hired by the mob after small-time crooks pull off a heist of their poker game. Also perfectly cast are veterans James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, Ben Mendelsohn, Ray Liotta, Sam Shepard (briefly) and Scoot McNairy. The only woman I can remember in the cast was a prostitute roundly and hilariously insulted by the sex-obsessed hired gun played by Gandolfini.
The testosterone-driven genre film stands with the best recent examples, and it is also surprisingly political — switching the setting of the 1974 Boston-based George Higgins novel Cogan’s Trade to 2008 New Orleans right at the time of the presidential election and economic meltdown. For most of the movie’s running time, the politics are simmering in the background with numerous excerpts of speeches from then-candidate Barack Obama and then-President George W. Bush. Toward the end it gets more pronounced, particularly when Pitt’s character Jackie Cogan seemingly puts out one of his “hits” on Obama’s hopeful speech-making.
Following last year’s stellar lineup (The Artist, Midnight In Paris, etc), Cannes Film Festival general delegate and artistic director Thierry Frémaux had a tough task to come up with an equally ripe selection this year. It seems he succeeded given that words being tossed around the French film biz today include “impressive” and “sumptuous.” However, he tells me he didn’t feel pressure to outdo himself. “Last year at this time no one knew, even me, that it would be considered a very good year.” He’s still going to announce another 3 or 4 titles, but he says he doesn’t even know what they are yet.
There’s a heavy presence of English-language films in this year’s vintage, but Frémaux points out that looks can be deceiving: there are features from 26 countries. He tells me, though, that he feels a renewed “presence of a certain type of American cinema that we no longer had.” It’s come back strong, he says, “but I also hope it’s a new existence for great American films on an international level.”