Andrew Dominik's 2012 film, Killing Them Softly, can be described as a neo-noir crime thriller. But, I like to describe it as something else. A visual essay about the United States of America. And all of this can be seen in the way the film opens and the way it ends.
The First Scene
Immediately, the idea of America is put at the forefront of the audience's mind. The images on the screen and the audio clash with each other.
What we're seeing can almost be described as a wasteland. Our character, Frankie (played by Scoot McNairy), is walking out of a tunnel towards what can be described as a wasteland. And the audio cuts in and out, from the left channel to the right channel.
It's a sound that's disconcerting and unsettling. It's interspersed with audio from President Obama. His words juxtapose the action that takes place on screen. We have Frankie, in an American wasteland, and we're listening to our current president talk about America being a land of opportunity.
The Last Scene
Again, we have the words of our current President juxtaposed against the action that's taking place within the scene. We have Jackie, played by Brad Pitt, talking to Richard Jenkins' character about the money that he's owed for killing people throughout the film.
The importance in this scene comes towards the end when Jackie comments on the speech that Obama is give at that time. He ends with:
This guy wants to tell me we're living in a community? Don't make me laugh. I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business. Now fuckin' pay me.
This is where Dominik drives the point of the films narrative home. The plot of the movie revolves around how the economy of a criminal underworld collapses after Frankie (the character from the first scene) decides to rob a mob-run poker table. By ending his movie with these lines, he's commenting on the economic collapse of the United States that was brought on by one person's greed.
While the film showcases a more criminal version of capitalism, it also breaks it down, comments on it, and shows how people within that system continue to use it to their advantage (i.e. Jackie).
That being said, there's a lot more to this film than just these two scenes. You can watch it on Netflix, provided you subscribe to their instant streaming service.