Hollywood heartthrob Brad Pitt told a packed conference at Cannes Film Festival today that his new role as a brutal mob enforcer is a commentary on "modern living".
Killing Them Softly paints a bleak picture of the broken American dream, blending a violent gangster story with overt criticism of politicians' failure to address the economic crisis.
The film takes place in an unspecified US city, possibly Detroit, which has felt the brunt of the financial collapse -- houses are abandoned, shops are shuttered and petty criminals and mobsters alike are struggling to get by.
Crowds went wild as they caught a glimpse of the Hollywood superstar as he arrived at the premiere of the film.
Pitt sent fans into raptures as he paced quickly up and down the lines of fans bordering the pavement in Cannes, signing autographs.
Pitt who also produced the film said he was looking for stories that "say something about our time and who we are".
Describing the idea behind Killing Them Softly, which also stars Ray Liotta as Markie who owns and runs gambling clubs, the topic of debate is invariably the financial crisis, political failure, greed and shattered dreams.
– Brad Pitt
This commentary - in the way it's done in this film, in the way that you believe you're watching a gangster film - I felt it was really a gangster film and it wasn't until the very end that things coalesced for me as far as maybe the direction the film was pointing to overall; that the film actually was saying something about the greater world.
US President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush appear making promises to address the economy and preserve the ideals on which the country was built, underlining how far they have fallen short.
In a scene at the end, Pitt's character declares. "America's not a country, it's just a business".
Based on the book Cogan's Trade by George V Higgins, Killing Them Softly also stars James Gandolfini, Scoot McNairy, and Ben Mendelsohn playing equally gripping roles.
Asked if Pitt had also set a wedding date with partner Angelina Jolie, he said: "We actually really, truly have no date".
He added: "We really hope we can figure out our marriage equality in the States before then" inline with the political theme of his film.