At the other end of the aesthetic spectrum is the artfully graphic pummeling some of these characters take, particularly Ray Liotta as the guy who runs the card game in question (and once got caught trying to rob it himself). The hard thwack of a fist against a jaw matches the pummel of rain and the splatter of blood. Bullets fire from a handgun in super-slow motion, piercing the raindrops, then a car window, then someone's skull. It's all very painstaking and cool-looking (the work of the gifted cinematographer Greig Fraser) but it also feels like part of a prevalent cynicism, given the film's heavy-handed message.
“America's not a country, it's just a business,” Jackie declares in the film's final monologue, a message “Killing Them Softly” already had hammered pretty hard during the previous hour and a half.
— Christy Lemire
‘Killing Them Softly'
Starring: Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins. (Violence, sexual references, pervasive language and some drug use)