The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: Robert Ford, who's idolized Jesse James since childhood, tries hard to join the reforming gang of the Missouri outlaw, but gradually becomes resentful of the bandit leader. Runtime: 160 mins Release Date: 19 Oct 2007
I've been thinking of a good way to start my review, I've been pondering many opening sentences, but none of them are close enough to the point, so I've decided to just say that this film is perfect in all aspects. When the credits started to roll I didn't move at all, I sat staring at the screen just thinking about what I just watched. I was trying to understand if what I just saw was really that good, or if I was just thinking it was. The film runs at almost three hours, but never looses your attention for one second. It moves forward through dialog that is poetic, but <more>
increasingly haunting at times.First off, the performances. Brad Pitt as Jesse Jame makes you feel that he is a vulnerable person, and then at the next second he'll make you completely change all your feelings for him. He doesn't talk much in the film, but is none the less flawless. Casey Affleck as Robert Ford is in his best performance ever, makes you hate him. His character is very shaky, very nervous at times, but always seems confident of what he's doing, whether it's right of wrong. He steals most of the scenes he's in. The biggest surprise however for me was Sam Rockwell as Charley Ford, Robert's brother and Jesse's right hand man. At the beginning of the film, you think that Charley is the stupid brother and that Robert is intelligent beyond any standard Charley could reach. At the end of the film though, the roles switch. You realize that Robert has been making all the dumb decisions, and Charley has been trying to save him by covering them up and usually taking all the crap for it. His last scene was intense and beautiful. One other performance to talk about is Paul Schneider as Dick Liddil, an outlaw womanizer. His performance is somewhat comedic, but in some scenes he can be the backbone for the drama. I can easily see Pitt getting a Best Actor nomination while Affleck pulls in the Supporting Actor for the win.The musical score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis is on par with Clint Mansell's classic Requiem for a Dream score, if not better. In the films most horrific scenes, the music turns them into something beautiful. You'll want to sit through the end credits just to hear it one more time. The music will draw you back to the film to see it again. The score also fits the tone for the most of the scenes.Andrew Dominik's direction is perfect. He uses the camera in such a unique way that you never miss anything that happens. In one of the film's best scenes, he places the camera so that you can only see Pitt's silhouette become meshed into a train's smoke and then reappear seconds later as it pops out. Dominik also wrote the entire script by himself, which really shows how versatile he is. He originally wrote the film into a 3hr and 50min cut that the studio made him trash. I can't wait to see that cut.The best thing in the film though, is Roger Deakins' cinematography. That is what you gives the feel for the film. The blurry landscapes, the wheat fields that Pitt gracefully moves through, and the greatest train robbery scene ever on film. It perfectly portrays the landscapes of the old 1800's and everything that took place there. The film is consistent with providing one memorable scene after the other. When the assassination finally happens, you'll be sitting in your chair gawking at the screen in amazement of how sudden it happens.I am very proud to say that this is now my favorite film of all time, and my definite choice for Best Picture of the year. It brings new flavor to the art-house scene and never lets you down. I recommend this film to everyone. It truly is a beautiful film.I give it a 10 out of 10
If you have watched the trailer and know this movie is two hours and forty minutes long you know what you are getting into and should not be disappointed. This movie delivers on every level of film making, be it cinematography, acting, or writing. Casey Affleck delivers a fantastic performance in how he portrays Robert Ford as the bright eyed fawning kid in a way so sincere it makes the audience uncomfortable even when it shouldn't. Brad Pitt underplays his part as Jesse James hitting all the right notes while never saying much. Exactly the way one would expect an outlaw to act when they <more>
have everything in the world to hide. I can't say the movie didn't FEEL two hours and forty minutes long but I never wanted it to end sooner than it did. I guess I just enjoyed the time I got to spend watching these characters for the full running time.I loved this movie. Unfortunately, a long western without action is something seemingly impossible to sell to the public these days. It would be to the advantage of the studio to sell this like The English Patient was sold 10 years ago. Just make people feel like ignorant idiots if they don't like it! As much as it pains me to say it, I think most people don't care enough to bother seeing what makes this movie so great. The only other option to make this a success is to fool them into THINKING they love the movie. I'm really curious how many folks out there that like the movie agree with me here.
Andrew Dominik's The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, is a deliberately paced, stunningly visualized, and emotionally charged exploration of the early development of mass media celebrity in America. The film riveted my attention for two hours and 40 minutes, and has remained on my mind for several days after my viewing. Although centered on one of the iconic legends of the Old West, it is far beyond an updated reincarnation of the Western. It is an epic allegory about the development of the American cult of celebrity and the effects of this obsession on the <more>
individuals caught in its web.Visually, the film soars beyond anything that has hit the screen since Conrad Hall's final masterpiece with Road to Perdition. Roger Deakins, the cinematography genius behind The Shawshank Redemption, Kundun, and all the Cohen brothers" films since The Hudsucker Proxy, surpasses his best work. He pulls out all the stops hereintricately orchestrated changes in focus, richly textured colors, dazzling use of light sources, careful manipulations of time, powerfully significant fade-ins and fade-outs, and shots through rain, snow, and rippled old glassto communicate the story. Deakins' contribution stands out in the railroad train robbery sequence at the beginning of the film. Clearly defined, flickering light sources and deep black shadows create a dazzling, nightmarish vision that haunts the rest of the film. This sequence alone is worth the price of admission.The richly textured, historically precise visual aspects of the film bring to mind Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven and Robert Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller. However, instead of the understated, "realistic" performances featured in those films, The Assassination of Jesse James showcases powerful, yet still realistic performances by an outstanding ensemble cast.Sam Rockwell, as the not-too-bright but well-meaning Charley Ford, and Mary-Louise Parker, as Jesse's loving wife, stand out. Yet the film belongs to the two titular leads, both of whom deliver the performances of their careers and create characters filled with disturbing contradictions. Brad Pitt's Jesse James is alternately pitiable and terrifyingan affectionate, loving father, an old-before-his-time sage, an adventurous daredevil, an unrepentant bad boy, and a vicious sociopath. Casey Affleck's Robin Ford is a complex, repellent, and tragic character who challenges the audience's complicity in the undercurrents of the film.All in all, this is a great filmnot for those seeking the simple pleasures of instant gratification. But definitely worth the attention of those who still believe that movies are an art form.
Pitt assassinates the Oscar competition (by ClaytonDavis)
From writer/director Andrew Dominik comes the long titled and lengthy timed The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford starring Academy Award nominee Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck. The film in so much of its glory has both positive and negative components that make this an uneasy experience at the movies.Director Dominik has great control of the picture but when the film went into the editing room the film underwent some problems. The film never keeps the momentum to be an amazing picture. The viewer is connected for the first 15 minutes, then bored for 10, then enchanted for <more>
45, bored for 15, then comes the anticipated climax and you think its over, then it goes on for another half hour. Dominik gives the audience the best understanding of Jesse James possible so we can become better acquainted with him but brings in an slew of different characters that, to be perfectly honest, I don't care that much about. I believe this might be a example of over character development where we get all the aspects of his life but all we want is Jesse.Last year, many critics were stating Brad Pitt gave his best performance ever in Babel however, his Jesse James is the best performance of his career by a mile. Pitt wears Jesse like an overgrown coat that you don't want to get rid of. Pitt gives the most tortured, endearing, and frightening performance of the year thus far. He makes the audience so uncomfortable and awkward yet gives off sensitivity and compassion for a very unlikable and ferocious man. If buzz builds, expect Pitt to be a huge contender at the Oscars.Casey Affleck, arguably the better actor of the Affleck clan gives the most pathetic, annoying and cowardly performance in the last ten years; and its brilliant. With his deep "admiration" for Jesse, his Robert Ford is engulfed in Jesse's presence and wants enjoy the moments with him, even if he is in fear of him. The finale is truly his show as he stretches out his acting legs and dissolves into a character you can't wait to see off-screen.The cast ensemble is a true revelation as each character as over-developed as they might be, all bring a sense of humanity, charisma, and heartbreak to their roles. Sam Rockwell who is on the verge of being a household name and coming his way to a nomination one day plays Charley Ford, brother of Robert, as magnetic as the character demands. Mary Louise Parker, who is one of the better actress' working today, goes nowhere as Jesse's wife. This is a role that is very Academy friendly, and throws it away in a her limited screen time Sam Shepard who plays the older brother of Jesse, shows fear and anguish built up in a man who yearns for emotional freedom from crime. Paul Schneider, Jeremy Renner and Garret Dillahunt all turn in exceptional performances and enhance a cast of big name stars. Expect a possible Screen Actors Cast Ensemble nod for these men.Expect a possible and much deserved cinematography nomination for the overdue Roger Deakins, which is the strongest technical aspect of the picture. Also a great score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis is a possibility along with great costumes by Patricia Norris and perfect art direction by Janice Blackey-Goodine. The appeal is there for the film as a whole but it leaves us floating a little too often in a long river of bravery, artistry and commendation. Dominik will likely be cited for some breakthrough director awards with the picture popping up during precursors' season.Get ready for the assassination everyone knows is coming but no one can prepare for. Never has been a film that tells you the entire story in the title and can still surprise the viewer with beautiful cinematic moments.Grade: ***/****
Wow, does this film have style or what? The Assassination of Jesse Jamed by the Coward Robert Ford, is one of the longest titles I've ever seen for a film and the movie's run-time follows the same pattern. I have no problem with this. I would sit through a ten hour "Jesse James" because of the excellent tone given out by director Andrew Dominik. The frozen Missouri/ Kansas landscapes are a treat for the eyes. The musical score does its job: to blend into the film so subtly that I cant imagine the images on the screen without it. The narration neither detracts or adds to the <more>
tone, although there is one bit of bad editing that confused my friend as to whether the narrator was speaking or a man's voice had been dubbed poorly."Jesse James" delves deep into the inner conflicts and emotions of every character. We live with them, eat with them, and often feel their pain or their confusion. This confusion is often associated with the bi-polar nature of the film's central character, Jesse James, played by none other than Brad Pitt. Casey Affleck delivers a subtle performance here that actually becomes the most effective as the film progresses over its 160 minute running time. I hated Robert Ford for a good portion of the film, thought he was so annoying and clingy that it was a wonder Jesse James didn't kill him within the first day of their complex relationship. But then, as I sat through the so called "gruelling" running time of the film, I learned to feel for him and understand his motives and attraction for Jesse. But ultimately, his childhood, comic book worship of the famous outlaw changes.The "style" of the film is evident in the first frame of passing clouds. Roger Deacon's cinematography is the best I've seen since Conrad Hall's work in Road to Perdition, perhaps better. He is definitely winning the Oscar this year, between this and No Country For Old Men. There is a scene involving a train robbery where the visuals and utter style blew me away. The lighting and camera direction becomes more subtle and less noticeable after the train scene, but, does not lessen in quality and pure artistry. There is a topic on the IMDb message boards approaching the topic of whether certain films should be labeled "art films." Well all films are works of art, some are horrendous, some are extraordinary. Well, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is an extraordinary work of art.
Casey Affleck's best work to date (by jasoncermak)
Casey Affleck's has officially come into his own. Fantastic performance! Brad Pitt's performance complex and stunning as usual. Brad does not shy away from the real roles and proves time and time again what a brilliant actor he is. Roger Deakins shots are stunning, capturing the true beauty that lies within the Canadian rockies. The artistic shots through the old style glass is fantastic. Score is very unorthodox yet amazingly effective.The only downside to the film many say is the running time, but I admire that Andrew allowed for the performances of the actors to be the showcase. <more>
Many scenes with not a lot of background music, just the intense performances.
The hero that was a villain. The admirer that was a coward. (by JFHunt)
Anticipated realism.Beautiful cinematography and direction. Some people say the storyline is misguided and sometimes dull, but I say with good reason. They are building something here. We all know the story. The American lure. Even though it's history and could be no other way, I didn't see it coming. I never expected the actual assassination to be so forth carried out.It was interesting to find that Pitt wasn't the focus of this film, instead we find Affleck deviling deep into the depths of desire and madness. The tension building with each disappointment or insult. How he did <more>
not win Oscar gold for this performance is beyond me. Instead it went to the methodic killer in "No Country for Old Men" and not the reluctant one in Jesse James.Pitt gives one of his finest performances in one of his most challenging films. He didn't really need to say much. His presence captured all. Pitt may very well be remembered for this film, even with an ever-growing impressive category of work. The supporting cast also did a great job, with an outstanding showing by Sam Rockwell as the sometimes not so evident meeker Ford brother.In short, a psychological thriller that never fails to conspire.
I've seen two modern westerns in close proximity: this and "3:10 to Yuma."The main thing that defines the western is the notion of the western grand spaces on men, always men, purifying certain traits and dynamics. From that you get specialized versions of the usual stories, often about honor and revenge.Within that there are few decisions to be made: which story, how pure, how close to cling to cliché not necessarily bad , and most importantly what balance to put on the man versus the place.Usually the decision is to focus on the man. That's served the Hollywood fame <more>
machine well for almost a century now. Its the choice made by the "Yuma" folks, and its pretty ordinary; the only difference is in this guy Crowe versus that one, say Wayne.The choice that was made here is far better. Its more abstract than usual. It pretends to be more focused on men than usual, two men as is the case with "Yuma." But in fact the emphasis here is on the place. Its the place, the spaces and visions that define the urges and qualities that these men absorb. It allows for the thing to be visually oriented and Deakins is up to the job. He learned this working for the Coens.The way this emerges is about story, Jesse like Clyde Barrow having become a legend through media exposure. The perspective is folded: we see a man who is cursed by what he sees of how others see him. His undoing even leverages this: the historically accurate scene of him admiring a train picture and exposing his back. The characters work, and the best we've seen Pitt in eons. But its the presentation of the world through what we see that matters. We enter the story not by getting the world by observing men and deducing the world; we see the world as they do and can see how it shapes them, and the tragedy we see unravel. Both this and "Yuma" celebrate the kernel of honor in an extraordinary thief. But here you are in on the shaping. Its a noir idea, and much more welcome than mugging in chaps.Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
Good....even great, but not exceptional. (by KalamazooGal)
Before my review, I'll admit that my reasons for seeing this film were shallow. I of course went to stare at Brad Pitt and because I really like two of the actresses who were thrown on the screen for a few seconds. Of course, I was given much more than I expected, since I really had no expectations I find it dangerous to have any when you go see films lately . I knew about the length. I had no issues with the length. I can't say the same for the guy snoring in front of me I tried to wake him up by gently kicking the back of his seat...he was missing a great film folks! . I loved the <more>
pacing of the film actually and not just because it makes my $8.50 seem more reasonable . The slow deliberation of the film was absolutely necessary for the times and the people it was studying. The film itself was obviously beautiful...but nothing particularly special in my opinion. It simply reminded me of films like "Cold Mountain" or "Legends of the fall." Although I did love a few shots with the light on the hardwood floor and the scene where he gets shot. It was nice to look at, but was there anything new? Not really. The cast was probably one of the films strongest points. First let me talk about the more supporting characters. Both Paul Schnieder and Sam Rockwell were awesome. It might just be that I already like them, but really they both gave a lot to their characters. I can't see the film without them. As I mentioned before I also really like MLP and Zooey, so my only complaint is how little they were used. In actuality it probably would not have been as good if their roles were any larger. The film was a study of two men and the world they lived in...I suppose it was right to accentuate the lack of women in their lives. It would have been a sellout to do anything else. Okay, so Casey Affleck....is he that annoying in other roles, or just a really good actor? I can't say because I've never seen him otherwise. All I know is that he annoyed the snot out of me throughout the film, but in a good way. If that was the goal here, it worked! I was captivated by his acting and my annoyance. I'll have to see him in something else to give a final verdict on how good he is. I suspect that he might just be annoying, because I find the same with his brother. Brad Pitt. I was kinda disappointed actually. I don't know if he's been type cast or maybe has just reached the peak of his acting abilities. To be honest, I'm kinda getting bored with Mr. Pitt. It seems to me that he was just sorta "there" in the film. They could have cast anyone else with a semi-big name and gotten the same needed effect. If they hand him an award for this role, I'll be really confused. The writing and overall story telling were the absolute best features of the film! I saw this film and the new "Elizabeth" film on the same day. Of the two films that attempt to delve into the psyche of historical figures, this was by far the better film of course the first "Elizabeth" was better than both . I was just thinking...maybe they could have cast Cate Blanchett as Jesse. I think it would have been the same. Haha. No seriously. Anyhow, my final verdict is this: It was a good film, but not exceptional. I feel that we should expect work like this on a regular basis. Films like this should be the standard, not the exception.