by Tony Medley
This is a
disgusting, profane, absurdly violent film about sleazy hitmen and
stupid gangsters. It was so offensive that my female guest walked out.
The film should have easily qualified for an NC-17 rating.
not surprising that the king of the F-bomb, Ray Liotta, is one of the
stars, what is surprising is that Liotta doesn't drop any that I can
remember. But everyone else does.
directed by Andrew Dominik from the novel Cogan's Trade by George
V. Higgins it starts out with a fringe wiseguy, Johnny Amato (Vincent
Curatola), pitching an idea to hit a poker game run by Markie Trattman
(Liotta) to a broke young crook just out of jail, Frankie (Scoot
McNairy), and his buddy Russell (Ben Mendelsohn), a goofy Aussie petty
criminal. I was initially taken by the outstanding acting, especially by
McNairy and Mendelsohn, and the fine pace of the film as it started out,
even though the language was one F-bomb after another.
But the language
continues to be gross throughout the movie and the violence is graphic
and repellent. Unfortunately the cold-blooded killing and graphic
violence might not be as off putting because there is not one character
in the movie who engenders any sympathy. But the way one of the cast is
brutally beaten is over the top.
me in the movie was the outstanding cast which also includes Brad Pitt,
Richard Jenkins, Sam Shepard, and James Gandalfini. These are people who
have, in the past, done good work in fine films. I don't understand why
they would lend their names and talents to something degrading like
this. Gandalfini is particularly repugnant, especially when he describes
sexual activity with a prostitute leaving nothing to the imagination.
film some sort of point is apparently tried to be made because many
scenes have a background of a television set with either Obama or McCain
giving a speech during the 2008 campaign. The idea seems to be that
being a gangster is just another business and this is a film about
business as usual and killing someone is like undercutting the price of
a competitor, just something that needs to be done to make business
Pitt ends the
film with a scathing condemnation of Thomas Jefferson that comes out of
the blue, dealing with complex questions about Jefferson's character in
a typically Hollywood superficial manner. What he says has absolutely
nothing to do with the plot of the film. To end this disagreeable movie
with such a surly commentary is probably appropriate.
I have a law
school classmate who refuses to see any movie whose cast or crew
includes any of these big mouth political numbskulls like Pitt who use
their celebrity to spout their political opinions. I try to tell him
that he misses a lot of good entertainment by doing this, but he is
adamant. When I see something gratuitous like this, though, I tend to be
more sympathetic to his point. Giving money to support nincompoops like
Pitt is hard to justify. Fortunately, I don't have to pay to see them,
so they don't make anything off of me. But I would now think twice
before actually paying to see a film in which Pitt had a role.