Friday, April 24, 2009

THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD

by Tobias
> view trailer

Australian über-stylist Andrew Dominik crafted one of my personal favorites of 2007 with this pensive outlook on the notorious outlaw and his killer. It's a gorgeous and meditative tone poem. With a literary narrative reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick's BARRY LYNDON and visual splendor poetically in tune with loads of 70's arthouse pics, especially DAYS OF HEAVEN and MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER, ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES is thankfully out of step with just about every contemporary American film. Really isn't a conventional western in any sense. I'd say it's more of a period drama that happens to be set during that segment of history. Unlike many biopics concerning these pop icons, this movie really does not glorify or demonize Jesse or Robert Ford. It merely depicts them as deeply flawed human beings with some serious personal struggles. The entire ensemble is brilliantly cast in their roles. Most of them are honestly the best acting money can buy. I feel like Casey Affleck's Bob Ford almost outshines the always charismatic Brad Pitt, here playing Mr. James. Roger Deakins' lush photography lends a great ethereal dream like quality to the film. It really doesn't look or feel like many of the studio films out there...Unless of course they're lensed by Deakins. I think his work on this film is the technical best of 2007, just as his lensing on O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU was the best of 2000. North America's ongoing fascination with celebrity and martyrdom eerily haunt this near masterpiece. It's a somberly moving and stunning film to behold in its true aspect ratio.

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