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,…
I kept waiting for Casey Affleck to skateboard into the sunset.
I've wanted to watch this movie ever since I listened to Nick Cave & Warren Ellis's soundtrack from it. The score is an incredible piece of music on its own, but now I can finally place it with the rest of its puzzle. It has taken far too long, years I think, for me to finally see it. But at last the time came, and Everything. Was. Brilliant.
Film 10 of 10 on Josiah Morgan's list for me.
Feels like a good way to end this list.
You're right; it's a great film. Roger Deakins is seriously great. The cinematography on this for the most part is incredible. The only aspect I didn't like about it was the repetitive use of dominating warm colors or cold colors in like basically every freaking scene. It was tonally consistent, but the feelings of the images neither mean anything or present themselves as unique. The whole look of it is too sleek.
Casey Affleck is amazing as always. Also I love the way Deakins shoots these men as huge, almost enigmatic figures. The score is great too, and thankfully used sparingly.…
This was SURPRISINGLY good!
Beautiful photography! Reminiscent of Terrence Malick
Slow moving, but entirely worthwhile.
Have never seen Brad Pitt act better.
And Casey Affleck is EVEN better than that.
'The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford' is a work of staggering beauty. Everything about it was executed perfectly. The long, lingering camerawork. Nick Cave's phenomenal soundtrack( and appearance in the film as the bar singer). Brad Pitt's best performance of his career as Jesse James. Casey Affleck with the best performance of his as the coward Rob Ford. The supporting cast featuring Sam Sheppard, Sam Rockwell, and Jeremy Renner, just to name a few.
The story unfolds almost like a fable, chronicling the late criminal activity of the James Gang leading up to the final days of Jesse James. It builds the legend of Jesse James as the heroic outlaw through Bob Ford's obsession with him…
We need more movies like this on The History Channel.
Casey Affleck thought Brad Pitt was a cutie. In order to smother these homosexual urges that he feared so much, he killed him.
I think I would have rated this higher if it had been a tad shorter. Otherwise, it was very artfully filmed, with wonderful and plentiful moments of tension in the silences between characters. Affleck's performance is wonderful and adds a degree of complexity to Ford that's already there in the writing. It probably deserves 4 stars, but my attention did wane a bit before the climax.
A truly criminally underrated Western detailing not the life of Jesse James, but rather that of his Assassin, Robert Ford. The movie seemed to flop commercially at release, I would presume due to the charming, but largely unfortunately long title.
Marketing mishaps aside, the film itself is really quite remarkable. There are some fantastic performances from Brad Pitt as the cold-hearted Jesse James, Casey Affleck as the title 'Coward', and some fantastic nuanced performances from actors like Jeremy Renner, Sam Rockwell (as underrated an actor as this is as a film) and Paul Scneider (of Parks & Rec recognition). The direction by rookie Andrew Dominik is fantastic, coupled with some fantastic cinematography and a haunting score, this film really shouldn't be…
- 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:…