Throughout the film (which takes place in 2008) you hear speeches from George W. Bush and Barack Obama in varying moods. They talk about the economy. They talk about the nation. They talk about how united the country is and how everyone has an opportunity to succeed with the help of their countrymen. Brad Pitt’s character, Jackie, doesn’t believe this one bit. Neither do any of the other characters in the film. They are hardened and cynical and believe that the world is very dog-eat-dog. You gotta take what you want to get it. This mood is only juxtaposed by the speeches.
This is a movie about hope, and the places where it doesn’t exist.
Jackie, Mickey (James Gandolfini), and Markie (Ray Liotta) all know how this world works and don’t have time for any other bullshit that someone may spout to them. Jackie is called into the city to kill the people involved with knocking off a high-stakes backroom card game held by Markie. Thing is, Markie has robbed his own game before, so everyone is going to think it’s him again. These two kids, Frankie and Russell, knock it off and take the money and run, but Russell shoots his mouth off to the wrong person. This leads to the whole problem of who has to die.
Brad Pitt, as well as everyone else, play their parts brilliantly. There’s plenty of morbid comic-relief throughout the film. Everyone laughs out of the sheer absurdity of the situations and the conversations. The cinematography is also phenomenal. There’s a death scene in this movie that’s like watching poetry in motion. Super-slow, super-high detail, multiple angles; it’s wonderful.
Finally, this movie has one of the best abrupt endings I’ve seen, in recent memory. Abrupt endings are hard to do right, but they nail it here.
All in all this film gets a 4/5 for me. Some parts drag, but the majority of the movie is totally worth it. Go see it!