This must-watch hidden gem starring Brad Pitt is on TV tonight
"America's not a country. It's just a business."
Killing Them Softly deserves a hell of a lot more love than it got upon its release in late 2012.
Though the film has a 74% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it didn't exactly set the box office alight, ultimately pulling in a little under $38 million worldwide.
Reuniting with director Andrew Dominik following the pair's phenomenal work on The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Pitt owns the role of Jackie Cogan; a shady hitman with money on his mind.
After a mob-protected illegal gambling operation is hit by some small-time crooks, Jackie is called in to clean things up.
Clip via PVR Pictures
Based on the novel Cogan's Trade by George V. Higgins, Killing Them Softly updates its original '70s setting to 2008, contrasting the financial collapse of America with the new hope represented by the rise of Barack Obama to power, hope that Cogan is quick to sneer at.
Pitt is at his best here, bringing equal parts swagger and disdain to everything his ruthless mercenary touches in this murky criminal underworld. Pretty great hair, too, it must be said.
What's more, he's surrounded by an exceptional supporting cast as Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelsohn, Scoot McNairy and the late, great James Gandolfini all bring their A-game. There's even a cameo from actor and playwright Sam Shepard, who passed away last summer.
Like his lead character, there's a ruthlessness to Dominik's direction, having trimmed a first cut of two-and-a-half hours down to a cool 97 minutes - and unfortunately leaving terrific character actor Garret Dillahunt on the cutting room floor in the process.
Dominik isn't afraid to go big when the moment calls for it, either - one standout sequence in particular uses slow-motion in quite brutal fashion.
And if you're a fan of an effective smash-cut to credits moment, Killing Them Softly boasts one of the all-time greatest.
That abrupt ending is part of why the film lives long in the memory afterwards. That, and it upholding a rich cinematic tradition of finding compelling drama in bad people doing bad things.
Killing Them Softly is on FilmFour tonight (Tuesday) at 11.15pm.