Monday, October 28, 2019

Killing Them Softly redux

So I've been doing this book challenge thing on Facebook, posting seven books and tagging seven friends and yadda-yadda, which is only partially interesting: I see a lot of books in my thrift store scrounging and it doesn't mean a lot to me to know that some of the books I see out there I have not read, have in fact been read by my friends! However, I have learned about a few books I do not know about, been tempted to revisit a book - Roszak's Flicker - that I actually read, once, when it first came out; and it was really cool to discover one person is a big George V. Higgins fan. I totally admired Higgins' novel The Friends of Eddie Coyle - which I was surprised to discover is even better than the movie, including a detail that resolves the story in a way that never happens in the film.  It moved me to suggest to Erika (who was game) we watch Killing Them Softly, last night. I saw it theatrically, I think - or maybe just as soon as it came out on DVD - and wanted to see if it had improved with time and distance. I haven't looked at it since my initial review of the film, which was positive, in fact, but kind of emphasized the negative, in such a way that it turned out that the negative was all I could remember... 

Watching the film again, I re-discovered the greatness of it. There's some great acting, great dialogue, great characterization, and a refreshingly downbeat and honest look at American life near the bottom of the food chain. Andrew Dominik's best film (not counting the Nick Cave doc, which I have not seen) is still The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford, but there is some utterly really powerful stuff in Killing Them Softly.  I stand by everything I criticized about it, previously - there is also stuff that is too on-the-nose and unsubtle; but I enjoyed it more the second time, and will probably enjoy it more yet the third time. So that's nice to note. 

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