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Lunch » Tags » Movie » Reviews » The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford » User review

And I even hate Westerns

  • Apr 10, 2009
  • by
Let me begin this review by saying that in general, I hate Western movies. If you ask me to name my 100 favorite movies, Silverado and Dances with Wolves might come in somewhere around 95. I thought Eastwood's Unforgiven (released in 1992) was a dark, and crappy rehash of Pretty Woman (released in 1990), and I laughed out loud whenever listening to the contrived dialogues of Sergio Leone's spaghetti Westerns.

So watching this movie was a pleasant surprise. Brad Pitt has a hobby of picking doomed characters to play; but he always does an incredible job, as exemplified in this movie. Pitt plays Jesse James, the passive-aggressive anti-hero who wants to trust those around him, but whose actions only create distrust. Casey Affleck plays Robert Ford, the youngest of a large brood who never amounts to much in his life until he joins the James gang. About half the screentime revolves around their relationship, with the rest of the time playing out the tragedy that is the life of crime, vengeance and violence.

For a Western movie, there is very little violence, maybe about 10 minutes in all out of over 2.5 hours of running time. The rest is in dialogue, showing the audience what goes thru the minds of men who cannot really trust each other with their most important possesions - their lives. So in a way, this is not really a Western movie, it is more of a crime drama; an 19th century American midwest version of the Godfather. All in all, a great movie and probably one of the 10 best movies of 2007.

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More The Assassination of Jesse Jam... reviews
review by . May 22, 2008
I love this movie. From the performances to the cinematography to the timing to the direction to the music, it's emotional and cerebral.     It seems to me that it perfectly captures the feelings of being tired. Tired of running. Tired of being a nobody. If this is what a Western can be in the 21st Century then by all means, make more of them. There are no good and bad archetypes here. There's no blind patriotism tipping a white hat to a nation's mythological past. These are …
review by . February 07, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD is one of the finer films about the history of the Old West 'heroes' such as Jesse James. It is difficult to describe the degree of high quality of the way in which this film has been created: the script (adapted by Andrew Dominick from Ron Hansen's novel) is as poetic as it is gritty and flows like a Shakespearean tragedy both in narration and in dialog; the exceptionally fine cinematography by Roger Deakins captures the flavor of the times, …
About the reviewer
Newton Ooi ()
Ranked #542
Hi everyone, so here is the rundown of me. I like reading and writing, nonfiction for both. I love movies, especially original ones. I like nonfiction music, eating out, and basketball. I love to travel, … more
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Of all the movies made about or glancingly involving the 19th-century outlaw Jesse Woodson James,The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Fordis the most reflective, most ambitious, most intricately fascinating, and indisputably most beautiful. Based on the novel of the same name by Ron Hansen, it picks up James late in his career, a few hours before his final train robbery, then covers the slow catastrophe of the gang's breakup over the next seven months even as the boss himself settles into an approximation of genteel retirement. But in another sense all of the movie is later than that. The very title assumes the audience's familiarity with James as a figure out of history and legend, and our awareness that he was--will be--murdered in his parlor one quiet afternoon by a backshooting crony.

The film--only the second to be made by New Zealand–born writer-director Andrew Dominik--reminds us that Dominik's debut film, Chopper (2000), was the cunningly off-kilter portrait of another real-life criminal psychopath who became a kind of rock star to his society. The Jesse James of this telling is no Robin Hood robbing the rich to give to the poor, and that train robbery we witness is punctuated by acts of gratuitous brutality, not gallantry. Nineteen-year-old Bob Ford (Casey Affleck) seeks to join the James gang out of hero worship stoked by the dime novels he secretes under his bed, but his glam hero (Brad Pitt) is a monster who takes private glee in infecting ...

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Director: Andrew Dominik
Screen Writer: Andrew Dominik, Ron Hansen
DVD Release Date: February 5, 2008
Runtime: 160 minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video
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