The Brad Pitt film, Killing them softly, is an allegory of 2008's subprime economic crisis. I'd like to know who each of the characters in the film is supposed to represent in relation to the crisis. Similarly, are there particular events in the film which have corresponding events IRL?
Liotta is Jimmy Cayne, former CEO of Bear Stearns, who refused to participate in the bailout of LTCM years ago (heist #1 when Liotta really did do it), and so was allowed to die by the other bosses(Bear was the first to go down, before Lehman).
The card games are the financial system itself - trading and investing being gambling in this case. Once confidence is shaken, the entire system freezes up as it did in 2008.
Gandolfini and Pitt are the financial regulators at the time, Paulson, Geitner, Bair, Bernanke - who are all on the banks payroll, but are meant to be keeping order - hence the misguided mortality of the Brad Pitt character, and the washed up ground into meat nature of the Gandolfini character. They know they have moral obligations, but they also know it is the banks, and not the government, who ultimately pay them. They eventually " bail out " the Jenkins' Driver character (bank CEO's) by solving their crisis of confidence problem for Driver, through in this case killing some of the responsible parties.
The Frankie character represents the rogue traders who participated in the financial collapse and were summarily either socially executed or arrested during the collapse and blame was assigned to them even though they were mere bit players.
Jenkins' Driver represents the surviving banks' CEO's- Goldman's Blankfein, JP Morgan's Dimon - who emerged unscathed and even more powerful from the crisis. so powerful that he could refuse to pay Pitt (the financial regulator) the full amount he was owed at the end - that amount being representative of the bank bailouts, the money from which was never fully paid back.
Based on evidence like this...
"This is an unrepentantly cynical take on the hope-and-change promised to the US in 2008" reviewer in The Guardian
from the film's creator Andrew Dominik in an interview: "as I started adapting it, it was the story of an economic crisis, and it was an economic crisis in an economy that was funded by gambling, and the crisis occurred due to a failure in regulation."
...here's my take:
In the movie, illegal gambling has ceased in New Orleans because two heists have occurred at Ray Liotta's (Markie's) poker games, and no one knows who to trust anymore. This represents how money-lending around the world largely grinded to a halt as the housing crisis began to unfold.
In the movie, the mafia was making money off the gambling, so the mafia wants gambling back -- just like how the world's investors were making money off of money-lending, so they desperately wanted a return to normalcy in lending.
From there, the allegory is less clear to me, but I think Ray Liotta's Markie could be a nod to George W. Bush. The heist went down on his watch, and though he wasn't technically involved in this particular heist, everyone knows he is shady, and someone has to take a fall -- so he gets whacked.
Brad Pitt's Jackie might be Barack Obama, a golden-boy leading candidate to take out Markie. James Gandolfini's Mickey might be John McCain, the over-the-hill other candidate who ends up getting dissed.
Richard Jenkins' Driver -- who, after the heist, recruits Jackie to kill Markie -- could be the American voters, or maybe the world's investor class. In any case, Driver chooses Jackie over Mickey, just like Obama was chosen over McCain to replace Bush.