The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Beyond the myth lies America's greatest betrayal
Everyone in 1880's America knows Jesse James. He's the nation's most notorious criminal, hunted by the law in 10 states. He's also the land's greatest hero, lauded as a Robin Hood by the public. Robert Ford? No one knows him. Not Yet. But the ambitious 19-year-old aims to change that. He'll befriend Jesse, ride with his gang. And if that doesn't bring Ford fame, he'll find a deadlier way.
This is my first viewing since the film’s original release back in 2007 and I feel incredibly foolish for not having re-watched it sooner.
Quite simply The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is a work of staggering brilliance and arguably the finest Western of the last twenty years. It is a film that exists on the border of two worlds - on one side it mythologizes the transitionary period of American history via the fable-building narration and dreamy photography, and on the other it slowly and methodically demystifies the characters that populate it and the falsehood of celebrity. It is this contradiction that is perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the film and mirrors the inner-conflict…
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford was a total afterthought in my film universe for years. The title was memorable for me simply because of it's length, but it carried no real resonance with me besides that. My expectations for the film were so low that, to be honest, when I read extremely positive reviews on Letterboxd I had trouble buying into it. How could a film mean so little to me, a film that sat so far off my radar that it practically didn't exist, yet be this good?
I looked up the director, found the name Andrew Dominik. Who? A name that meant absolutely nothing to me, a tiny filmography of three films associated…
"He's just a human being."
#5 on Berken's Favorite Movies Of All Time
In retrospect, it makes perfect sense how much I loved The Assassination Of Jesse James, given how Andrew Dominik here assimilates the strengths of my three favorite modern filmmakers and repurposes them into a new and potent concoction:
1. The slow-burning cynical character studies, thematic purpose, and powerful, naturalistic performances of Paul Thomas Anderson.
2. The stylized period dialogue and shocking outbursts of violence of the Coen brothers, not to mention the brilliant eye of their famed collaborator, cinematographer Roger Deakins.
3. The thoughtful, elegiac tone and elegant, repeated musical leitmotifs of Wong Kar-Wai, especially In The Mood For Love.
Granted, Dominik can't quite match Wong's skill…
What a breathtaking gorgeous picture The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is. Unbound beauty. We are all aware by now of the director of photography, the master Roger Deakins, who has proved his astute sense of vista and marvelous photography, not only with The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, but on many other occasions as well. I could watch a three hour movie of sunlight inundating empty rooms, people walking around corn fields with the wind whistling by or riding through snowy forests all the time. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is not just a movie, it's a moving painting bro. Hear me out!
As I said,…
Cinematography - Roger Deakins
Oh you have got to be joking, Academy.
Okay, now I can see why this film is held in such high regard. It's very rare in which you find a film is which nearly every single aspect of it is crafted to absolute perfection. That is not hyperbole - it really is that good. Especially the acting. Brad Pitt puts in a performance that for most actors would be seen as the performance of their career but it's hard to say with him since he's constantly outstanding. Here though, he manages to effortlessly switch between the swaggering, grinning outlaw he's cemented a reputation as and the psychotic, self-loathing depressive he's become because of his actions, and…
A richly detailed epic that doesn't sacrifice historical accuracy in order to be engrossing, what Andrew Dominik has created is a film experience that captures a period in time and explores the depths of its characters with captivating insight. Examining the final years of Jesse James' life which sees his gang falling apart and him developing a strange relationship with Robert Ford, the young man who would ultimate murder him. The vast landscapes and hazy visual imagery gives the entire film a haunting ambiance and Roger Deakins' camera techniques surrounds his characters in a misty existential atmosphere. The character of Jesse James has a mythological presence about him, and Brad Pitt embodies his legendary personality with a performance that is…
Die Geschichte des Westernhelden ist eine Geschichte des Verfalls: Zuerst bewunderten wir John Wayne und Co, blickten zu ihm auf. Später fanden wir ihn cool, harte Antihelden. In den 90ern waren wir bei Unforgiven und Verachtung für diese gewalttätigen Bestien. Im Jahr 2007, bei "The Assasination[...]" bleibt nur noch Mitleid mit diesen gebrochenen Menschen. Die Einsamkeit ist eine Konstante, die Bewertung eine immer neue.
Eine faszinierende Betrachtung von Mythen- und Legendenbildung, vor allem in seinen letzten 30 Minuten blüht der Film wirklich auf. Casey Affleck zeigt, dass er der drastisch talentiertere der Affleck-Brüder ist, Brad Pitt scheint mit seiner komplexen Rolle etwas überfordert. In den Malick-esquen Landschaftsaufnahmen findet sich oft nicht so viel, wie es der Regisseur gerne gewünscht hätte.…
Seen at the Museum of the Moving Image for the first screening of the Jesse James revival.
Still an astonishing and beautiful experience, especially on the big screen, where every image in the photography feels thought out and innovative. This is a film that best demonstrates that achieving fame, particularly through questionable acts, results in such an unfulfilling life.
Andrew Dominik, who was in attendance, actually compared the film not to Malick, but one that I had immediately thought of when I first saw this back in 2007: "Barry Lyndon". The sad attempts to gain fame and titles and money just feels like a waste. Both films with their measured paces almost feel like feature-length funerals for the kind of people who don't value the things in life that matter. In a strange way, I find both these movies inspiring in that I don't want to ever to treasure things that ultimately do not matter.
This is one of my favorite modern (in terms of release) westerns, thanks mostly to the excellent performances and Dominik's style, which is something I've never seen in a western or historical drama in general. I don't like to ballyhoo over awards not won, but this is a film that should have got Roger Deakins a f*cking Oscar. That does not concern him, of course, he's too busy being one of the best cinematographers in the business, but this film is truly something to behold. It's nice to have Pitt in a role that goes beyond his natural charms and looks, though they are still on display in this film. His Jesse James is a man of deep trouble in…
Brad Pitt's best performance to date, incredible cinematography by Roger Deakins
Could've been a masterpiece if it wasn't for that pesky narration.
The atmosphere of this movie is stronger than the charisma of Brad Pitt -- mainly due to the great, minimalistic soundtrack and stunning cinematography.
I hate Casey Affleck and I dislike this 2hours and 40minutes borefest.
"Can't figure it out: do you want to be like me or do you want to be me?"
The most under-appreciated, mesmerizing, beautiful, poetic and stunningly acted film of the 21st century so far.