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Review: Killing Them Softly

By BRETT MICHEL  |  December 5, 2012
3.5 3.5 Stars

Though Andrew Dominik shot his follow-up to 2007's The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford in N'awlins, it's a Boston movie through-and-through. Based on Cogan's Trade, by local crime novelist George V. Higgins, Dominik's script incorporates enough of Higgins's crackling, location-specific dialogue to have you recalling that greatest of all Boston-set films, Peter Yates's 1973 adaptation of Higgins's debut, The Friends of Eddie Coyle. Although this movie also examines the low rungs of the underworld, it's not a crime movie, per se. You won't see any boys in blue, but there is a strict code of enforcement at play, as Cogan (Brad Pitt) and his bureaucratic boss (Richard Jenkins) decide the fates of the movie's players (Ray Liotta and James Gandolfini among them) during unglamorous exchanges set inside their makeshift office, a parked car. And the closing punchline is such a knockout, you might forgive the lack of subtlety preceding it.

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