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The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Beyond the myth lies America's greatest betrayal
Outlaw Jesse James is rumored be the 'fastest gun in the West'. An eager recruit into James' notorious gang, Robert Ford eventually grows jealous of the famed outlaw and, when Robert and his brother sense an opportunity to kill James, their murderous action elevates their target to near mythical status.
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.
Legend was he could stop a train by staring it down.
The villain dies a villain's death, the coward, however, goes out alone. These golden wheat fields that never fail to make me somewhat religious reminds me of Malick's Days of Heaven, upped to a whole new level with the addition of Roger Deakins, being a ~ godsend ~ as always, stops at nothing to craft heart-stopping sequences like the opening train robbery. (Train emerging from darkness, light illuminating masked figures in the woods, Deakin's spell casted on every frame.) Brad Pitt is as menacing as Daniel Plainview, his presence is a continuous jump scare, adjusts his mask like a true fashion model, every close up of him is an ad for Prada or some other capitalist bullshit, I swear, even the wind dares not blow his direction. Just brilliant filmmaking, acting, storytelling.
I've had this DVD sitting on my shelf for the better part of a year now, and for some reason I just never got around to watching this film at all. I thought it would be good, but I didn't expect it to completely blow me away. Everyone is just fantastic in this. Casey Affleck was born to play Robert Ford. Brad Pitt reaches for his inner Tyler Durden in this skin crawling portrayal of the infamous outlaw. The narration is fantastic. The music is spot on. The cinematography is haunting. Just, every little detail about this film felt absolutely perfect to me, I quickly fell in love with it, and I believe it to be one of the greatest…
”…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…
This film isn't about Jesse James and the James gang. Nor is it an action Packed western about train robberies. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is a film about how admiration can fester into resentment, and eventually hate. It's a film about love. It's a film about a time and place. And mostly, it's a film about life.
The film begins with narration, then we meet Robert Ford (Casey Affleck). Ford idolizes Jesse James and wishes to join the James gang. Robert Ford is a peculiar young man who aspires to be idolized and admired the same way he, and a lot of the country views Jesse James. Affleck exudes desperation, loneliness, and almost a…
Beautiful moving painting with incredible true story and Brad Pitt's best performance and Casey Affleck's in wonderful gem .
Прекрасное кино, вопреки напыщенному закадровому голосу
I've sat on this one for a while as it's one of those films whose appeal has increased since I finished watching it and it's hard to reconcile that reaction with how films are unusually enjoyed.
I was interested throughout its running time but it was as the end credits rolled that I realised its effect was felt. I've not experienced that since I watched The Rover.
Beautiful and contemplative and about so much more than the events depicted.
This is becoming an annual viewing, and it maintains the same level of quality through each viewing.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is my favorite western of any form.
Roger Deakins d.p.
Pretty much perfect cinematography. Like damn. Acting, especially by Affleck, was great. Writing was also very good. My only complaints are the length, as it did feel a bit overlong, and the voice-over. The voice-over just feels wrong, and it mostly tells us stuff that would be more effective if actually shown. It's a gorgeously written voice-over, but it just feels a little lazy and slightly out of place. Then again the movie's long as is, so to not use the voice-over and do more "showing" might have made it an hour longer. So whatever, it's not used that often anyway so it really isn't too big an issue.
Very good movie overall.
Sometimes it felt too slow, but on reflection well worth the glacial pace. Great character acting throughout.
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The best that cinema has had to offer since 2000 as picked by 177 film critics from around the world.…