Anthony Lane on the new film "Killing Them Softly:"
Why haven’t more movies stolen from George V. Higgins? He died in 1999, but his work remains a trove, begging to be raided for linguistic loot. If you want to grade postwar novelists on the strength of their ears alone—how fast they prick up at the crackle and blare of American speech—then Higgins and Elmore Leonard, you could argue, lead the pack, ahead of more distinguished names.
…this mode of bare-bones storytelling—in which a pared-down framework of facts is presented, tightly and narrowly, as if foregrounding the plot and locating all traces of character in the actors’ performance—is one of the dominant trends of contemporary filmmaking. It doesn’t just serve the goal of brisk entertainment: it reflects the desire to pass the fiction off as objective truth—in order to convey as all the more self-evident the filmmaker’s political point.Read more.