Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pitt and Dominik reteam for COGAN'S TRADE

If you live in dread of the thousand comic book movies coming our way you can at least take heart that, for art house crime geeks at least, the future does hold some signs of hope. As I talked about the other day, Gosling and Refn are reteaming for ONLY GOD FORGIVES.

Just as exciting is the new collaboration between Brad Pitt and director Andrew Dominik. The two worked together previously on the brilliant, if largely unseen, THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD. That film made about ten cents at the box office--when I saw it in the theater, the small audience in attendance dwindled throughout the screening until only some dude and I remained--but it is as good a revisionist Western as I've ever seen.

The news is that Pitt will be joining Dominik in an adaptation of George V. Higgins's gritty 1974 crime novel COGAN'S TRADE. It's interesting to note that as cinema becomes ever more enslaved to the tastes and preoccupations of sci-fi-loving fanboys, genres like westerns and noir are becoming de facto adult programming. (That's not a dig at sci-fi or comic book movies or fantasy flicks. I like that stuff well enough. I just think the domination of fanboy material at the box office is monotonous and, ultimately, redundant. Enough already with the armies of CGI characters charging at each other with swords.) Dominik and Pitt are joined by an amazing cast: SOPRANOS alums James Gandolfini and Vincent Curatola, the always welcome Ray Liotta, ANIMAL KINGDOM's Ben Mendelsohn, THE VISITOR's Richard Jenkins. If you can't make a good crime flick from with this cast, you cannot make a good crime flick.

One note of concern: there's word buzzing around the net that the name of the film will be changed to KILLING THEM SOFTLY. If true, this seems like an idiotic move. COGAN'S TRADE sounds like a crime classic. KILLING THEM SOFTLY sounds like, well, this. (Note: not dissing either Roberta Flack or Hugh Grant, just making the point that the new title strikes a, ah, different emotional chord. But, hell, who knows? Maybe it's the perfect title for the film Dominik and company have made. I'll be happy to see the film to find out.)

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