Ray Liotta and Brad Pitt at the Killing Me Softly photo call in Cannes

Brad Pitt ‘Killing Them Softly’ At Cannes: This Year’s Drive?

Just past Cannes’s halfway point – underscored by Sunday’s celestial watershed – we’re now staring down the second act of this grand-dame film festival. And guess who just rolled into town looking all Legends of the fall meets Thor-ageing-remarkably-well? Yup, Brad Pitt.

Star of new film Killing Them Softly, Pitt reunited with New-Zeand born director Andrew Dominik after their 2007 effort “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.”

Selected to compete for the coveted Palme d’Or this year, Dominik’s latest is a visceral take on George V. Higgin’s novel ‘Cogan’s Trade‘. But instead of the 70s, events are now set in recession hit America, against a backdrop of the 2008 U.S election.

Pitt is Jackie Cogan, an enforcer brought in to ‘clean up’ when a heist goes down during a Boston mob-protected poker game.

Also starring Ray Liotta, Sam Shepard, Richard Jenkins and James Gandolfini, the film may sound like yet another mob film, but actually it’s a slick rage-against-the-machine slice of cinema with thickly-laid political themes.

Played against the sights and sounds of Obama’s “Yes we can” campaign and Bush Jr’s bluster about economic recovery – in the film relegated to empty pufferies – Cogan delivers lines like, “I like to kill ’em softly, from a distance” and “America’s not a country, it’s just a business” – as if in stark relief to the ‘promises’ of Capitol Hill.

Unsurprisingly, the film has met with mixed reactions from critics.

Alex Billington from First Showingtweeted, “Dominik’s Killing Them Softly – Brutal as f-k! But also lacking a bit. Felt way too short, oddly. Typical hit-and-kill kind of crime flick.” Tatyana Shorokhova of Kinopoisk reiterated saying, “Killing Them Softly = boring them deadly.”

Indiewire, while describing it as enjoyable, reviewed it as: “Like the rest of ‘Killing Them Softly,’ the cast is positioned in blatant symbolic terms. By the time Jackie explains the “corporate mentality” of the killing process, Dominik has made made his intentions so clear that they nearly collapse.”

Brad Pitt is Jackie Cogan