“Don’t make me laugh. I’m living in America. And in America, you’re on your own. America is not a country. It’s just a business. Now pay me.”
– Jackie Cogan
Johnny “Squirrel” Amato (Vincent Curatola) has a plan to hit down a poker game of Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta). He is unafraid of the Mafia and what they will do seeing as Markie previously paid two guys to rob his poker game and later claimed from insurance. He was immediately suspected, but persuaded hitman Dillon (Sam Shepard) that he had nothing to do with it. Later he admits it to various people, though he suffers nothing. With this history, Squirrel is convinced that the Mafia will look no further than Markie to rectify his plans. He hires Frankie (Scoot McNairy) and Russell (Ben Mendelsohn) to knock over the joint for him.
The two successfully hold up the game and rob the player and leave. However, retribution is in order, and the Mafia representative , Driver (Richard Jenkins), hires Dillon’s partner Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt), and explains the situation. Jackie understands that Markie was not involved with the latest robbery, he feels that Markie’s death would restore the mobsters’ buoyancy in the local gambling scene again, seeing as it has been so disrupted. Driver is uneasy about the suggestion. Russell shares his robbery participation with Kenny Gill (Slaine) in Florida, who lets Jackie in on what he knew.
Frankie is freaked out, knowing that someone is going to strike back to bring about a balance in the system again, and is furious that Russell would be as stupid as to blabber about what they did. Jackie cannot kill Squirrel because he knows him, so he brings in Mickey Fallon (James Gandolfini) in to do the job. Fallon is on parole in New York. It seems that no one is safe from Jackie’s reach and intent to clean up everything in the situation.
Jackie needs total control over the show, and starts getting edgy with Mickey and his lack of professionalism as well as all the complications that are arising in a simple clean-up matter. Will anyone escape Jackie’s madness? Will the whole debacle be sorted out, everyone pay their dues, and others be forgiven? What is Jackie’s plan behind this? What is it about Jackie that Dillon trusts, subjecting everyone to the same laws as he is?
A 5/10 for this. I don’t know, I was not particularly enamoured with this. I truly enjoy watching Brad Pitt, but I thought this film was a little bit too all over the show. Also, it was not compelling. I didn’t care what was happening, and thought that the entire premise fell flat. It felt extremely long, too. Brad Pitt was alright, but even he didn’t do much in the way of saving this film for me. It was very disappointing. The story was not as deep as they portrayed it to be, and there was no real character development. The ending was alright, but felt a little bit rushed. Nothing about this movie stuck with me, and the more I sit here and think about it, the more I realize there was nothing memorable, nothing to identify with, no real characters, no great soundtrack, average camera work, all of that. Sucks, cause I really wanted to be impressed. A decent cast, and I wanted to see Brad Pitt do something excellent again. This is definitely not it. Not something I plan to watch again anytime soon and not something that I would recommend.