One of my most anticipated films of 2012 and well, it looks fantastic. This is Andrew Dominik’s next directorial effort after The Assassination of Jesse James (2007) – hence my excitement.
I figured since there were no topics, we could just consider this the discussion thread for the film. What are your thoughts? Anyone else as curious/excited as I am? Are you a fan of Dominik’s Chopper or Jesse James? What do you make of this trailer? Discuss!
“When their poker game is knocked off by petty thieves, the Mob calls in their best enforcer, Jackie Cogan, to make things right. Under the eye of a mysterious driver, Jackie must track down and punish those responsible for the heist. His assignment is complicated by those he comes up against along the way — an aging, drunken hit man, some bumbling local gangsters, and the ladies’ man who ran the ill-fated game.” — Cannes
There seems to be a lot of buzz about the “reactionary” politics of the film. I liked the look and pacing of Jesse James. The performances were also good overall. The one big drawback is the potential of having names like Gandolfini and and Liotta attached to a crime film. I’m not sure it’s the wisest idea to cast Tony and Henry in a film, unless their characters are so different that you can’t see past their history
I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS!!!!
The reviews have been generally positive i believe.
Dominik has a lot of promise.
Interestingly enough, and not exactly surprising given the original marathon cut of Jesse James, K.T.S was cut from 2.5 hours to 98 mins.
Quite a drastic cut really
“2.5 hours to 98 mins.”
Sheeeeeet, that’s just wrong.
The source material for the film is a book by George V. Higgins, who wrote The Friends of Eddie Coyle, a pretty amazing crime film directed by Peter Yates.
I saw the trailer last night at the movies. It looks great. Pitt seems to be in top form.
Release date got pushed back to the end of November.
will this be wide release? anyone know?
I think so.
Just saw this (58/100)
If an existing thread didn’t exist, I was going to use the sub-title: "Meaningful update or Pointless rehash of The Friends of Eddie Coyle. I haven’t read any reviews or comments about this film, but I have to believe that many reviewers pointed out this connection. The film is set in working class Boston (or near there), the cars are from the 70s and there’s a dreary, working-class look to the film. I’m pretty sure the connection is intentional, and I would be surprised if it wasn’t. (The film reminds me of what Todd Haynes did with Far From Heaven.) More importantly, the subject matter seems very similar. Maybe I haven’t dug deep enough or analyzed the film properly, but this film seems to be about the people at the bottom of society getting screwed (which similar, thematically, to Eddie Coyle, if I recall correctly). Here, the film tries to update this theme with the contemporary social issues, namely the financial meltdown and the way the financial sector seemed to profit the most from the federal government. (How did people like the use of the snippets of political speech and newscasts? I found it too direct and a bit clumsy. The speech at the end was also too on the nose.)
Am I not understanding the film very well?
“When their poker game is knocked off by petty thieves, the Mob calls in their best enforcer, Jackie Cogan, to make things right. Under the eye of a mysterious driver, Jackie must track down and punish those responsible for the heist. His assignment is complicated by those he comes up against along the way — an aging, drunken hit man, some bumbling local gangsters, and the ladies’ man who ran the ill-fated game.—Cannes
This^ is highly misleading.
Joks said, “2.5 hours to 98 mins.”
Actually, it seems to have worked out well. I can’t imagine the film being 2 1/2 hours. The film dragged, at times, at 98 minutes.
the film would make a good 35-40 minute short.
Yeah, I can see why you would say that, Tomas.
I’m seeing it Sunday, so I’ll contribute then. Feel I’ll have a decent amount to say on this.
It’s a disappointing film. The ads running in an effort to bring the film to a wider audience are misleading and the film is an allegory for its own message of trying to push the limits of its resources and expect a big payday.
The way Dominik uses the Obama debates with McCain, speeches and political commentary is intrusive to the point of being annoying. It’s in the movie too damn much, it’s overkill. Way to beat the audience over the head with your themes. It kills the tension and ruins several scenes that otherwise could be amazing. There are other instances where I felt he was purposefully trying to annoy the audience, like the scene Ben Mendelsohn’s character is trying to talk to Scott McNairy’s after shooting heroin. There are a bunch of scenes that just go on for far too long, after the point has already been made. Also, he goes overboard when trying to make Mendelsohn’s character a sleazeball. The character ends up becoming a two dimensional caricature. There are times when everything is so heavy handed it’s laughable. That said, there is a good film underneath it all. I like the cinematography, I like the story and the last 20 minutes or so are really good. I love the last scene and Brad Pitt’s final line. I really wish this movie was made by a filmmaker with a more subtle approach, or that Dominik had a completely merciless editor cutting the film. If that was the case, it would be one of my favorites this year. Actually, that’s pretty much how I feel about The Assassination of Jesse James as well, so I guess Dominik won’t be a director I’ll keep paying much attention to from now on.
I loved Jesse James, but found this to be really disappointing (I would barely know it was the same director if I didn’t see the credits). All the on-the-nose political stuff has been talked about, but I also found the casting of Gandolfini and Liotta to simply remind you they were in better things. I also didn’t like the on-the-nose song choices (“Heroin” for a…uhhh…shooting up heroin scene and “Money” over the closing credits to belabor the point to the audience just in case they were asleep for the entire movie). It’s extremely cynical but in a stupid/obvious way.
I have some other questions and comments about the film:
>What do people make of the interactions between Coogan and the mob middle man? Was this making fun of corporate boards—both in terms of bureaucratic slowness and the fact that they’re so far removed from the “street.?”
>I was confused about Dillon. Who was he? And what was his role and significance in the film?
>Liotta seemed miscast in this. I really liked the Scott McNairy (Frankie) and his early scenes with the Johnny Amato (John Amato).
The way Dominik uses the Obama debates with McCain, speeches and political commentary is intrusive to the point of being annoying. It’s in the movie too damn much, it’s overkill. Way to beat the audience over the head with your themes
Totally agree. And if that weren’t enough, he ends the film with a heavy-handed speech from Pitt’s character. Ugh.
There are other instances where I felt he was purposefully trying to annoy the audience, like the scene Ben Mendelsohn’s character is trying to talk to Scott McNairy’s after shooting heroin.
The scene felt like an attempt at hip filmmaking, portraying an interaction with a heroin addict. Unfortunately, the filmmaking wasn’t very hip, creative or interesting, in my opinion.
That said, there is a good film underneath it all. I like the cinematography, I like the story and the last 20 minutes or so are really good. I love the last scene and Brad Pitt’s final line.
I sort of know what you mean, but you have to dig deep to see the good film. Plus, why do that when you’ve got Eddie Coyle. Granted, the times are a bit different, but ultimately, the “message” of both films are in the same ballpark.
As for the final line, I’m assuming you mean the “pay me” remark. Perhaps that’s an effective exclamation, but what he says before—underlining in bold, in case the political speeches/news commentary wasn’t clear enough—was totally unecessary. I actually groaned and said, “Noo.”
“If an existing thread didn’t exist, I was going to use the sub-title: “Meaningful update or Pointless rehash of The Friends of Eddie Coyle. I haven’t read any reviews or comments about this film, but I have to believe that many reviewers pointed out this connection. The film is set in working class Boston (or near there), the cars are from the 70s and there’s a dreary, working-class look to the film. I’m pretty sure the connection is intentional, and I would be surprised if it wasn’t. (The film reminds me of what Todd Haynes did with Far From Heaven.) More importantly, the subject matter seems very similar.”
Yeah, it’s not so much that Dominik is trying to do anything with Yates’s film so much as it is that the novel this is based on. Cogan’s Trade (1974) very strongly resembles The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1970), which George V. Higgins had published four years early ( The Digger’s Game, the one he wrote in between them and published in 1973, is also very much of a piece with the other two). Higgins grew up and lived in the Boston area for most of his life, and worked as an assistant D.A. there, so that explains the milieu of the novels. Higgins was about as good a writer about what he wrote about as it’s possible to be, but it’s hard to imagine a film adaptation of one of his films that wouldn’t look and feel a lot like all the others.
Yeah, it’s not so much that Dominik is trying to do anything with Yates’s film so much as it is that the novel this is based on.
OK, but given that the source material is so similar, I think the question is still valid.
So . . . there can only be one crime film set in Boston in the ’70s? Especially given that crime films set in Boston and environs seem to be all the rage the past ten years or so?
It’s not the setting, but themes and nature of the film. Look at Ben Affleck’s Gone Baby Gone and The Town—both significantly different from each other as well—in terms of story and themes— as well different from Friends of Eddie Coyle.
By the way, Killing takes place in ‘08, but Dominik has them driving around in cars from the 70s, and uses costumes and set-pieces that could also have been found in the 70s. That’s something he could have, and maybe should have, changed given the time of the story.
Ah . . . OK, now I think I get what you mean.
These are all pretty valid points. Though Dominik occasionally reminds us that he is a capable filmmaker, the handful of appreciable sequences/shots are trounced by an unforgivably thin narrative, unnecessarily prolonged scenes of drugs and violence — drenched in a maddening slo-mo, no less — and the most useless, poorly-written monologues uttered by completely uninteresting characters. The heroin scene in particular epitomizes all that is wrong with the film: Dominik makes dumb decisions and then exacerbates those dumb decisions to the point where we all have to look at them and really marvel at how dumb they are.
And, my god, that scene with Gandolfini in the hotel room? I mean. Man. That’s some awful nonsense.
Now, as I said, the handful of so of decent scenes prevents the film from being worse than, say, Prometheus or The Dark Knight Rises. Somebody very accurately described — and derided — Pitt’s “heavy-handed speech” at the end. Yes, I wholeheartedly agree. However. The film’s final line and immediate ending was terrific, I thought it was one of the better parts of the film. Same goes for the strange and unconventional opening, which I thought was well-done and very unique. Pitt’s introduction is pretty great. The entire sequence wherein Pitt carries out his execution of the Squirrel and Scoot was very well done, shades of a better Andrew Dominik.
And the film’s politics shine with the subtlety of a shotgun shell to the face. I get it, we all get it, everyone in the universe gets it: criminals are no different than the businessmen in the financial sector; crime is as much a business in America as the big banks; capitalism extends into the criminal world. The shame of it is that there is a substantial amount of symbolism to be had and properly conducted — but, for the love of everything on earth, pretty please stop battering me upon the head as if I lack the intellectual capacity to get the point that you make nearly every frame of the damn film.
Though Dominik occasionally reminds us that he is a capable filmmaker, the handful of appreciable sequences/shots…
Yeah. The opening shot and first scene between John, Frankie and Russell got me excited about the prospects of the film, but then…
And, my god, that scene with Gandolfini in the hotel room? I mean. Man.
I feel like I wasn’t fully getting what the film was trying to do. In that room, we learn that Mickey is a mess and incapable of pulling off the job. But to what end? A part of me felt he represented a particular type of “little guy” getting screwed. At that same time, i thought his character started to be a little interesting—here’s a killer who actually loves his wife and is messed up because she doesn’t love him. But I couldn’t see how that development fit in with the overall film. I don’t know. I’m still open to the idea that I’m not properly understanding the film.
The entire sequence wherein Pitt carries out his execution of the Squirrel and Scoot was very well done, shades of a better Andrew Dominik.
It was OK, but it also seemed unnecessarily long…maybe I just didn’t really care about what was happening at that point.
I think you’ve got things backwards. It’s more like “financiers are no different from criminals; big banks is much as crime in America…”
^^Yeah, but it seemed a lot more radical when Godard said it in the 60’s ;-)
Gomorrah seems to be the last crime film that shed any semi-new light on the subject to me. except that was focussed on the shadow economy.
Dillon is a local fixer. Peter Boyle played him in the Eddie Coyle film. He’s the guy that the mob normally relaies upon to set things straight. He plays all the sides against each other. He’s got cancer, so they need to call in Cogan, who has a different agenda.
Cogan is a stand-in for the libertarian point of view and Richard Jenkins seems like he’s the corporate middle man "we’re all in this together " point of view. Neither side is advocating justice by any stretch. They just want to get back to business.
It was heavy handed. Stylish, but it felt like it came up empty.
Thanks for the response. I see that Dillon was played by Sam Shepherd, so he was the guy that roughed up Markie (Liotta) after the first robbery. I was confused about Dillon because in the conversations between Cogan and Jenkins’ character, Dillon seemed important, as if he were a mob boss. There’s a moment when Cogan says that Dillon is dead, almost implying that Cogan killed him. I’m still not sure what was going on.
It seemed like Cogan represented the ultimate bottom line guy—you had to kill off Markie, even if he wasn’t guilty and even if was likable; you get Mickey arrested because he can’t do the job, even if he’s your buddy, etc. Whereas Jenkins, as well as the “committee” above him represented people that didn’t want to get their hands dirty, people that were less decisive. If this is correct, I’m not sure who or what are the analogues. Maybe Cogan represents the Karl Rove-types and the Jenkins and the committee represent the politicians who hire guys like Rove; they’re not as cynical and cold-blooded. But I’m not sure if this is correct; it’s just something that came off the top of my head.
I wish the film did that for me.
@Jazzaloha – Dillon has cancer in the book. I agree that it was not well articulated. On one hand, it plays into the “who’s running the show” mentality of the 2008 collapse. I’m not sure what was being conveyed either, I just know that the source work included details about Dillon being in a cancer ward and looking rail thin.
I read a decent book about the Yakuza in Japan and their role in that country’s financial collapse and it makes the argument that instead of being side by side, crime and capitalism are the same and part of a greater whole. The mob was running legitimate loans in the housing market. Killing them softly seems to want to divide the two but doesn’t really get into the idea that people actually profited from the collapse by pumping it up and betting against it.