Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Killing Them Softly: The Ghost of Calvin Coolidge

OK, so with Killing Them Softly (2012) we have Andrew Dominik's variation on a George V. Higgins novel. It's sort of a dark satire of "Hard Times on Wall Street," 2008 version. Gangsters, hoodlums and Lumpenproletariat are hard up, too. One guy tries to steal back a small cash tip and is berated by an associate. Another (played by James Gandolfini) refuses to tip a hooker even a dime. Another (Richard Jenkins' character) announces that due to "Recession prices," a contract killing is now worth $10,000, not $15,000.

Ensemble acting is good and there are some memorable, compelling scenes. The pacing is a half beat behind just about anything made by the Coen Brothers, the dialogue not as snappy, but it's interesting. Some of the seedier characters are truly loathsome, but there's still some semblance of a code being maintained in the neighborhood -- which is probably more than you could say about Wall Street at the time.    

In the background, Panama Jack McCain and Barrack Obama battle for the presidency. In the foreground, Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) makes quips that sound like a variation on the Coen Brothers through the mouth of Calvin Coolidge.

Blood Simple (1984):  "Now, in Russia, they got it mapped out so that everyone pulls for everyone else . . . that's the theory, anyway. But what I know . . . is Texas, an' down here . . . you're on your own.

Killing Them Softly (2012): "I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own."

US President "Silent Cal" Coolidge (January 17, 1925): "The chief business of the American people is business."

Killing Them Softly (2012):  "America's not a country. It's just a business. Now fuckin' pay me." 


Today's Rune: Wholeness.   

1 comment:

jodi said...

Erik, I thought everyone knew-you must ALWAYS tip your hooker!!