Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
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…
Dominik's best film.
Pitt's best performance.
Deakins' best work.
Affleck's perfect performance. That is not an exaggeration. Perfection is the only word for what he achieves here.
Made me forget, again, that I really don't like the western genre.
”…Rooms seemed hotter when he was in them. Rains fell straighter. Clocks slowed. Sounds were amplified…”
Okay, we know what’s going to happen, we know that a coward and weak character, named Robert Ford is going to kill the famous wild west outlaw Jesse James, we know who is who before even watching the film, Andrew Dominik’s audacious masterpiece has nothing to surprise, we know that there’s not going to be a twist, there’s not going to be a WTF moment, everything that we’re going to see is compressed in the title, that’s all.
So this film is not going to be about what’s going to happen…
"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…
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…
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,…
Incredible. I can't think of anything I didn't like about this movie. Best personal performances by both Affleck and Brad Pitt.
Andrew Dominik's second feature film is a marvel of beauty, self-restraint, and Shakespearean tragedy. In a time in which there exists an ever increasing dependency on epic action scenes and outlandish CG imagery, Dominik has crafted a gorgeous looking contemplative piece about America's obsession with celebrity that unfolds more through conversation than action. In fact, it could easily find itself a contender for the best shot film of the last decade. While the characters could have easily turned out cold, cliched, or simply frozen in history, they have instead been brought to life by the expression of their deeply human flaws and qualities, keeping the audience invested at all times. Much of this rendering is due to the fine acting…
Cassey Affleck se come a todos aquí. A mi me ha flipado.
A slow burn until the excellent last 45 minutes, The Assassination of Jesse James is a great drama with excellent performances by Pitt and Affleck. I also loved the soundtrack, and the cinematography was excellent. It reminded me of Terrance Malick's dreamy style. I do think that at times pace was too slow, and around 15 minutes could have been cut, but overall I was pleased with the film and would place it among my favorite modern westerns behind 3:10 to Yuma and True Grit.
Solid story, eye watering cinematography, fantastic score, powerful performances and pretty much any other adjective that fit with the word brilliant to describe the rest of the areas not mentioned.
The Assassination...is just a masterful viewing experience. The fact the movies title is almost a complete FU to the power of leaving your mind to hit the inevitable "how's it going to end?" state, only intensifies the level of admiration I have for this film. I mean you may struggle to understand how a movie that delivers it's outcome as soon as you pick up the movie can be suspenseful and forthcoming. Incorrect.
You must simply watch this movie.
What truly makes a coward? Is this movie a western? Was it really an assassination? Did Jesse James deserve the love? Did Robert Ford deserve the hate? Why do monsters like O' Kelley exist? These and many more questions appear in my head whenever I find myself returning to this modern classic from Andrew Dominik. In a year full of shining features with anti-heroes, this film is definitely the brightest.
Favorite movie of all time
This was so good. Beautiful looking and great performances from Affleck and Pitt.
- Only God Forgives
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
- Spring Breakers
- A Field in England
- The Racket
- 7th Heaven
- Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
- Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
- There Will Be Blood
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
- Mulholland Drive
- Children of Men
- No Country for Old Men
1. THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007) by Paul Thomas Anderson
IMDb: 8.1 | RT: 91% || Points: 2110 | Peak:…