Apparel & Merch
Posters & Prints
Read Good Shit On Musings
The way things currently stand, it’s probably safe to say that William Friedkin has retired. Not that there isn’t still a market for his brand of hilarious, opinionated coarseness—as two recent documentaries, Francesco Zeppel’s Friedkin Uncut, and Alexandre O. Philippe’s Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist can attest—but as a filmmaker, as a director of movies of all kind, movies that are often idiosyncratic, sometimes nakedly commercial, not infrequently provocative, even deeply shocking, he appears to have packed it in. Friedkin is 85 now, so who can blame him, especially when you consider how much longer the gaps between his films had become? He’s made just three in the last fifteen years.
“Shitsville.” That’s the name Killing Them Softly director Andrew Dominik gave to the film’s nameless town, in which low-level criminals, ambitious mid-tier gangsters, nihilistic assassins, and the mob’s professional managerial class engage in warfare of the most savage kind. Onscreen, other states are mentioned (New York, Maryland, Florida), and the film itself was filmed in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, though some of the characters speak with Boston accents that are pulled from the source material, George V. Higgins’s novel Cogan’s Trade. But Dominik, by shifting Higgins’s narrative 30 or so years into the future and situating it specifically during the 2008 Presidential election, refuses to limit this story to one place.
So, we’ll start with the fact that all movies are make-believe. It’s a bunch of actors on a set, wearing costumes and standing with props picked out by hordes of people you’ll never see, under the guidance of a director, saying things that have been written down for them while doing their best to say these things so that it sounds like they’re just now thinking of them. We all know this—saying it feels incredibly stupid, like pointing out that water is wet—but it’s still worth noting. There is, for example, no such person as Luke Skywalker. Never has been, never will be. He was invented by a baby boomer from Modesto. He is not real.