The A.V. Club‘s Scott Tobias once called CinemaScore “the dumbest of all dumb polling metrics, second only to 7-11 cups and possibly Rasmussen”. That’s probably true, but that doesn’t make Killing Them Softly‘s current F rating any better.
I’d guess the low rating is a case of audiences not knowing what they were really going in to see. The trailer definitely lets you know you’re in for a gritty crime movie; it doesn’t let you know that these are especially chatty criminals, in keeping with the George V. Higgins novel the movie is based on. Or that Andrew Dominik, whose last movie was The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, takes a few opportunities to make his present felt as the director and jar the visual fabric of the movie. Or that the 2008 American election has been strong-armed into the story as constant undercurrent.
Maybe the greatest stumbling block for the unsuspecting viewer is the plot itself, following a card game heist and its fallout. The story doesn’t so much twist and turn as it does follow itself to its inevitable conclusion. I liked it for that, but I could also see how that would frustrate the fuck out of some people.
Tobias’ own rating for the movie is a B+. And prairie dog‘s own Jorge Ignacio Castillo gave it 3.5 dogs. Editor Stephen Whitworth and I both saw it earlier today and I think I can solidly say this is a movie prairie dog says is worth seeing.