Brad Pitt has been making some grandiose claims about his new film at the Cannes Film Festival. Killing Them Softly is a gangster movie, but Pitt suggests it could be seen as a metaphor for corporate crime in America.
Pitt, who is also a producer of the film, said when he read the script he was struck by the political message. "It was at the height of the mortgage crisis, when people were losing their homes right and left," he said before the premiere. "It was criminal, and there still hasn't been any criminal repercussions for that."
It’s a thriller that has ambitions to be a state of the nation commentary. The character Jackie, played by Pitt, offers a pithy encapsulation of the theme: "America is not a country, it's a business."
"We are always looking for stories that say something about our time and who we are," Pitt said. "I certainly felt on reading the script that this was making a commentary. I felt I was reading a gangster film and then it coalesced that this microcosm was saying something about the macro-world."
Spoken like a true executive producer. Killing Them Softly is not a Michael Moore style diatribe against American institutions, but a commercial gangster film with aspirations to be a little more thought-provoking. The producers of The Sopranos might point out that this is not an entirely original idea.
The film concludes with Barack Obama’s 2008 election victory. "I see that the speech that is chosen at the end of the film is not chosen as a cynical statement of failure," Pitt said, "but as a real expression of hope."