The film’s only issue, and a minor one at that, seems to be its excess. With everything Dominik does right, he missteps occasionally with superfluous attempts at style that feel jarring when compared within a movie that is primarily uncompromised starkness.
He also seems to lack subtlety in presenting the movie’s themes, which attack a capitalist mindset in the middle of the 2008 presidential election. A lot of the dialogue covers these topics grandly, yet the film still feels the need to constantly have speeches by Bush and Obama playing on TVs in the background or over the soundtrack. It surely isn’t indirect or ideal, yet this approach could have proven far worse in another director’s hands.
Regardless, “Killing Them Softly” is solid entertainment and a striking commentary blessed with a unique touch by an interesting filmmaker. With great performances and magnificent movement through its every scene, “Killing Them Softly” may not be one of the best American films of the year, but it is certainly one of the best films released this year about the country itself.