Welcome back to Intermission, a spin-off podcast from The Film Stage Show. In a time when arthouse theaters are hurting more than ever and there are a plethora of streaming options at your fingertips, we wanted to introduce new conversations that put a specific focus on the films that are foundational or perhaps overlooked in cinephile culture. Led by yours truly, Michael Snydel (co-host of The Film Stage Show), Intermission is a 1-on-1 supplementary discussion podcast that focuses on one arthouse, foreign, or experimental film per episode as picked by the guest.
For our fifth episode, I talked with critic Roxana Hadadi about Andrew Dominik’s 2012 recession neo-noir film, Killing Them Softly, which is currently available on Netflix. A recipient of the coveted “F” Cinemascore, Dominik’s film threw many for a loop at the time of its release–including some baffled critics who pillorized it for its rambling pacing and foregrounded messaging. Whereas Dominik’s previous film The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Ford, with its nearly three-hour runtime and Roger Deakins’ photography emblematic of mythic Americana, has grown in esteem since its release, the same reappraisal hasn’t been afforded to Killing Them Softly.
At barely 100 minutes and beginning with a juxtaposition of white noise and snippets of a Barack Obama speech, the film appears to cut right to the point. But its framing story of a robbery gone wrong and its constant diegetic political interventions are less about economic disparity than the ways that the system has never cared about certain parts of America in the first place. That may imply that this hews to one side of the aisle politically or spiritually, but this is a movie that has no allegiance to any party or ideology. As such, it’s a movie that back in 2012 felt overly cynical or pushy, but now plays in an entirely different context. Roxana and I talked at length about these misbegotten perceptions, the unorthodox ways it views a person’s value, and how its winding dialogue builds a vision of a transactional world.
Intermission episodes are shared exclusively with our Patreon community before being posted to The Film Stage Show’s main feed. One can also enter our giveaways, get access to our private Slack channel, and support new episodes by becoming a Patreon contributor. For a limited time, all new Patreon supporters will receive a free Blu-ray/DVD. After becoming a contributor, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for an up-to-date list of available films.
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Intermission is supported by MUBI, a curated streaming service showcasing exceptional films from around the globe. Every day, MUBI premieres a new film. Whether it’s a timeless classic, a cult favorite, or an acclaimed masterpiece — it’s guaranteed to be either a movie you’ve been dying to see or one you’ve never heard of before and there will always be something new to discover. Try it for free for 30 days at mubi.com/filmstage.