Illustration & Design
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Art Blog

A blog by illustrator and designer, Bryan E. West. This blog will focus on my artwork as well as my thoughts about art & culture.

Movie Recommendation: Killing Them Softly

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Killing Them Softly(2012) - Andrew Dominik 

Much like some excellent punk albums that were released around this time, Killing Them Softly is a little too real for the happy content liberals of the Obama era. In 2012 the American dream was back in vogue and the economy was on the upswing. This head-in-the-sand mentality that sweeps the nation every time someone that isn’t a totally incompetent maniac takes office is exactly why films like Killing Them Softly are important. As the tagline for the film says, "in America, you’re on your own". Killing Them Softly came out in 2012, but it is set very intentionally during the 2008 Presidential race and the Wall Street Bailout. The political commentary is the literal subtext to every scene playing out in the background over car radios and barroom TV sets. The news is never mentioned or commented on until the very end when Brad Pitt’s character brings it all together in a powerfully blunt monologue. As good as Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, and Richard Jenkins are, the real stars are Ben Mendelsohn and Scoot McNairy. Mendelsohn and McNairy play desperate criminals, and their performances really help the film communicate what it’s like to be at the bottom. I’ve probably watched this movie 10 times since it came out, and each time I am blown away by how it captures exactly how I felt during a very specific time in American History.