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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - March, 2013

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 "Killing Them Softly" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-march-2013-killing

Synopsis

Three amateur crooks decide to rob a mob-protected poker game.  They think they can frame another mobster for the heist and get away with $50,000.  Enforcer Jackie (Pitt) is brought in to clean up the situation.  He has a policy of never killing anyone who knows him so he hires associate Mickey (James Gandolfini) to help out.  Mickey shows up and proceeds to drink himself into oblivion so Jackie is on his own.  Moving with the stealth of a professional, he takes out the robbers one by one.  His final challenge?  Getting paid the agreed amount!

Specifications

  • Anchor Bay Entertainment
  • 2012, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr, 38 mins
  • 1080p
  • Codec: AVC
  • English, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Starring: Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins
  • Directed by: Andrew Dominik
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Extrene
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Extreme

Commentary

This film is all about gritty realism.  Shot in a cinéma vérité style, it focuses almost exclusively on conversations between two and occasionally three people.  The violence is extreme but only plays a small role.  The assassination scenes are done in super-slo-mo where you can see the bullets hitting their targets, the spent shell flying from the breach, and blood spattering everywhere.  To call it intense would be an understatement.  It’s obvious the film-makers want to provoke an emotional reaction and they succeeded wholeheartedly.  I had to follow my viewing with something positive just to bring myself out of the funk this movie put me in!  It is certainly well-made and for fans of realistic crime drama, it’s a must-own.

Technical

The image is as sharp and detailed as it should be given the subject matter.  This is not a movie to be given in a super-clean digital presentation.  There is exactly the right amount of film grain and color is muted just enough to create the atmosphere you’d expect in the criminal underworld.  The transfer is true to the original with no added edge enhancement or other distracting artifacts.

Audio is done with a strong sense of minimalism.  Music is used sparsely and never during dialog; which by the way is superbly clear and balanced.  Since nearly all scenes contain only conversation, the mixing of this crucial element is key to the film’s success.  It’s extremely well-done.  Voices come from the correct part of the screen and you’ll never have trouble discerning even the smallest details.  Ambient sound effects are also mixed well and add to the movie’s feel just as they should.

Extras

Bonus features are fairly thin and include only a making-of featurette and deleted scenes.