“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” Review

10 June, 2017

Year of Release: 2007
Director: 
Andrew Dominik
Screenwriter: 
Andrew Dominik
Director of Photography: 
Roger Deakins
Cast: 
Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Jeremy Renner

Synopsis: The story of notorious outlaw Jesse James who developed a reputation in the mid 19th century as a professional bank and train robber before being murdered by a gang member who would later find fame as his killer.

The Assassination of Jesse James Review:

Despite having one of the most unnecessarily long film titles in modern history, “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” is a film that quite remarkably delivers all that its name implies without falling into the trap of becoming yet another gunslinging John Wayne western. A calm and collected art piece that’s as much about admiration as it is about lies and betrayal, the movie has no qualms about taking the gloomy route as it walks from one dead end to the next, dragging its heels in the dirt while looking for very few reasons to vilify even the worst of characters.

A slow journey down a long road, “The Assassination of Jesse James” requires patience to fall in love with but it benefits greatly from its detachment from the trappings of the traditional western. In a film that sticks to your insides like gum as it turns an ugly story into pure poetry, Andrew Dominik presents Jesse as a pseudo-family man whose criminal ways have afforded him a mythical status that he never truly deserved. He’s a bandit with a fancy reputation whose paranoia is only heightened after he’s introduced to his biggest fan and Robert Ford is the man who buys into the legend, obsessively storing books and newspaper clippings with the hope of one day meeting his idol.

As is the case with many assassins, Ford’s violence is heavily related to a combination of admiration and disillusionment and as his hero becomes a threat and begins to move away from his untouchable status, his death begins to feel more and more feasible. “The Assassination of Jesse James” stirs eerie narration, music, and compact dialogue into a meditative story that digs deep into the core of motivation while striking gold as perhaps the most mild-mannered masterpiece of the past decade.

 

   

Summary
Review Date
Movie
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Rating
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