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…
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,…
"You know what I expected? Applause."
To witness Jesse mentally and physically deteriorate through the eyes of his biggest admirer was heartbreaking. Once idolized as a hero, at one point being the set bar for what you longed to be like, he's now a fraction of who he once was. Lonely and left looking over his shoulder at every turn, Jesse's life collapses around him with his closest companions longing for glory of their own. It's visually a masterpiece.
Rationally this movie is very good, but emotionally it strikes out completely. It feels self-indulgent, undeservedly and shamelessly prestige-y and Malick-ian, and very long, even if that length is required to convey the profound changes that take place in each character.
El 2007 fue uno de los mejores años de la historia del cine, por lo menos puedo asegurar con total confianza que fue el mejor de la pasada década, dejando grandes películas en todos los géneros: una gran comedia con acción (Hot Fuzz), uno de los mejores thrillers policíacos (Zodiac), una demostración de como la animación nos deja grandes mensajes (Ratatouille), una increíble road movie (Into the wild), unos sólidos films de terror ([REC] y El orfanato) y una de las mejores películas de crimen (No country for old men). Se suponía que al terminar de ver The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, iba alabar aún más este año, por despertar de una manera brillante el…
I'd been wanting to watch this movie for years because the trailer is just so beautifully cut. One of my favorite trailers. Sometimes I just pull it up and watch it.
So now, I've finally seen it. Holy crap. Why is this film not talked about more often?!
Firstly, Roger Deakins...my man. This is such beautiful film to watch. You could turn the volume off and still be engrossed. That train robbery scene is mesmerizing. Deakins said that it is his greatest achievement. Never has a western looked so great. Especially in the cold!
Casey Affleck...my man. I've always been a huge Casey fan, but this...is his BEST. PERFORMANCE. EVER. Not only that, it is one of my favorite performances…
Second time watching it and still mind blown about how perfect this film actually is. Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck delivers their best performances yet and the breathtaking cinematography by the great Roger Deakins may just be his best work ever. Definitely an A+, and the best western I've seen.
Although you know how it's going to end in a sense, you still are captivated by the great acting by a fantastic cast. Casey Aflfleck shows a terrific perfomance. Maybe his best ever. Pitt is also really good. Not what you would expect by what he's done before this. The rest of the cast is great in supporting those two. The wonderful direction by Dominik of whom we will see incredible things in the future. The beautiful images shot by Roger Deakins with the different filters and lenses and camera effects. And than there's the hauntingly wonderful score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. They really got it and Bob's songs is the best of the score. Really gets the thing that is gnawing away at Bob. Fantastic movie.
The title says it all. A very good film that conveys so many viewpoints and emotions.
Maybe I just don't "get it", but this was a bit of a snore. Of course it's beautiful and well-acted, but it's awfully dense to be approached from the outsider perspective it's approached from. Lots of stuff going on in addition to Roger Deakins at his Roger Peak-ins (this might be his best work).
A story of betrayal, obsession, infamy, myth and ultimately regret. Indeed a slow burn but as soon as the entire picture comes together the particulars of the craft reveal themselves.
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
Combined the average ratings (Critic's & Users) from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and Letterboxd, and then weighted and tweaked the results…