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,…
An overly-long (almost) mess of a movie that is held together by fantastic performances, beautiful cinematography, interesting dialogue, and a very interesting message about fame.
Was going back and forth on the rating for this one, but ultimately I think I'm in the "gorgeous but inert" camp. Really looking forward to that second viewing, but for now I must go read about how wrong I am.
Incredible movie, beautiful and moving, well acted and pretty much perfect.
Film 14/30 of Scavenger Hunt 8!
Task 25. "A film about an assassination attempt!":
2007 Films Ranked! letterboxd.com/milo123/list/milo-123s-2007-films-ranked/
Whilst not quite as good as No Country for Old Men, Andrew Dominik's The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is a masterpiece that's simply another must watch in the western genre. It may be a bit longer than it needed to be but apart from that it's pretty much a great movie in what may be the best performance of Brad Pitt's Career. He plays of course the legendary Robin Hood-esque American Outlaw Jesse James, and the film shows his story and how it intersected with the "coward" Robert Ford, who is essentially the main character of…
As good on a third viewing, as any time before. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is a treat of flawless performances, and visual poetry. It's a long film, but every minute is justified. Certainly one of my favorite films.
Film 23 of the 2015 Scavenger Hunt November Challenge!
Task 25: A Film About an Assassination Attempt!
Scavenger Hunt, November 2015
"I can't figure it out: do you want to be like me or do you want to be me?"
My new favorite western. The second best film of 2007. The best western of the 21st century. The best film I've watched since The Tree of Life. One of the best films of the 2000's. The best film of the scavenger hunt thus far, and I doubt anything can top it.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is pure cinematic bliss. Every frame oozes with beauty and power. The definition of powerful and clever filmmaking. This…
There has always been a strange stigma given to historical and celebrity figures - some kind of distinct label that they universally get noticed as for years to come. In the case of Jesse James and Robert Ford - the former has been given the title of 'misunderstood hero' and the latter a 'cowardly monster'. But with "The Assassination of Jesse James...", director Andrew Dominik breaks apart this mythology - showcasing both people has the three-dimensional human beings they were. Flaws feeling ever present, and the story ultimately leading down roads of tragedy for both counterparts. In the end, it's hard to really find that old-school western hero/villain stigma anywhere here. Casey Affleck's performance is all-time great.
If you're going to have your characters ostensibly do the actors jobs by telling the audience what they're feeling, then you better be either Terrance Malick or writing a novel. And for the love of god, don't make Brad Pitt your muse while you do so.
The better revisionist western of 2007 is 3:10 to Yuma.
I'm not a fan of Westerns, but this movie transcends genre. It was beautiful, and I use that word knowing that it is overused and having been taught to always seek out a synonym when possible. But it's not necessary to find another word because everything about this movie really and truly is beautiful, from the story to the cinematography to the soundtrack to the acting. I am so glad it surpassed my expectations since I had heard so many good things about it. Ugh, yes, perfect.
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…