Can’t Wait: Andrew Dominik’s ‘Killing Them Softly’

While my other movie series, I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Film School, looks back, I figured I should place at least one foot in the here and now of giddy anticipation.  Therefore, Can’t Wait focuses on upcoming movies I, well, can’t wait to see, along with a few reasons why.

After watching The Godfather for the first time as an adult — I had only seen it at the age of 12 — and The Godfather Part II for the first time, period, in the past week, you could say I’m on a mafia movie kick.  While Coppola’s films rank among the greats, their high-minded take on the upper echelons of mob life is not my favorite of the genre.  As I wrote last week, Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas ranks in my 10 favorite films, and I think that’s because of its focus on the smaller aspects of the life; the two-bits, the less successful ones.

Writer-director Andrew Dominik (Chopper, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) appears to share Scorsese’s mindset in that regard, as evidenced by the new trailer for his upcoming Killing Them Softly.

Now, doesn’t that feel like one of Elmore Leonard’s lost gems?  Brad Pitt’s scuzzy-goateed, aviator-clad heavy looks to continue his winning streak of distinct, interesting characters (after Inglourious Basterds, The Tree of Life, and his Oscar-nominated turn as Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane in Moneyball), and he deservedly earns top billing.  Pitt’s not the main reason I’m eager to see this, though.  Richard Jenkins is.

Jenkins is a wonderful character actor whose profile has risen the last few years, to the point where he’s nearly reached the Gene Hackman/Robert Duvall level.  The first time I noticed him was as the lovesick buffoon in the Coen brothers’ Burn After Reading, and I haven’t stopped paying attention to him since.  From his tragically doomed Father in Let Me In (a movie that probably had no right to be good, yet still pulled it off), to being the best part of The Rum Diary as Johnny Depp’s cranky newspaperman boss, to his place as the secret weapon (with Bradley Whitford) of 2012’s best film to date, The Cabin in the Woods, Jenkins has earned every ounce of respect heaped on him.  I’m excited to see what he can do in the criminals-bullshitting-each-other milieu.

Oh, and how can you not be excited for that single-take working over of Ray Liotta?  It’s the best form of low-budget filmmaking.


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