Killer Instincts

Brad Pitt's charisma: a weapon of mass destruction

Mystery is star quality for mob hit man Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt). He's both inside the syndicate and above it, saying, "Very few guys know me." Angels of death do not socialize. A smart, supercool enforcer of gangland and corporate priorities, Cogan is the criminal-industrial complex's Terminator, but he's not in charge; he takes orders from the taciturn lawyer (Richard Jenkins) who represents various Messrs. Big. Cogan is the underworld equivalent of a midlevel Wall Street sharpie, doing the dirty work for master manipulators.

Killing Them Softly, an adaptation of George V. Higgins' 1974 crime novel Cogan's Trade, reunites Pitt with...

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