Starring Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard, Sam Rockwell, Hugh Ross, Mary-Louise Parker, Zooey Deschanel
Written By: Andrew Dominik
Directed By: Andrew Dominik
Studio: Warner Bros
Buy on Amazon.com
It seems the western is coming back strong this year. Assassination of the Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is a very very long movie title and it’s also a long movie but its worth sitting through. The film has strong performances from Casey Affleck, Brad Pitt and Sam Rockwell. The direction is excellent and this happens to be one of the most visually stunning films of the year.
Assassination of Jesse James is more like an Indie western than anything, and its based on the true story about the final days of American outlaw Jesse James (Brad Pitt). Everyone knows about Jesse James and his gang of outlaws, but no one knows about Robert Ford (Casey Affleck)..not yet anyway. The movie starts off with 19 year old Bob Ford trying to join Jesse’s gang as they go on one last train robbery. Bob Ford’s brother Charley is in the gang and he wants to be in it as well. Bob has a man crush on Jesse James, and is a big admirer of his and probably knows more about the man than the man himself. Jesse takes young Bob Ford under his wing and Ford sees that Jesse isn’t the Robin Hood figure stories claim him to be. After the robbery, the gang slowly disbands either by getting arrested, getting killed or simply just disappearing off the map. Just like the title says, Bob Ford eventually betrays Jesse James and assassinates him in a cowardly act. But what’s interesting is how it gets to that point and the aftermath.
When I heard about this movie, I was intrigued about it because I like old western type movies. I knew about Jesse James a little bit but didn’t know the whole story behind him. I did see American Outlaws but that movie isn’t that great. This film however is pretty much spot-on with the way it happened, give or take. I’m sure he didn’t say or do certain things like he did in the movie. In the movie, he almost knew he was about to get murdered, not sure if that’s myth or real. Brad Pitt played Jesse James really dark, mysterious and dangerous. While he may be the biggest star in the movie, Casey Affleck gave the best performance by far as Robert Ford. He was just so freakin’ creepy and weird. He definitely deserves the Oscar nomination he received last week. I think the person that doesn’t get a lot of credit is the narrator Hugh Ross. His narration was just so good, like Morgan Freeman in Shawshank Redemption good. But you don’t see Ross on screen though, that’s the only difference. The cinematography was beautiful, and just the way the film was shot was excellent. Nick Cave continues to impress me with his scores, and the last song in the movie/soundtrack is just a beautiful, somber song. Cave also makes an appearance as the Saloon singer who’s singing the Jesse James song. I found it ironic he was singing that, since the Pogues cover that song; and he’s good friends with the band. I’m weird, whatever, shut up haha.
My only complaints for the movie is that it’s a long movie, and it moves at a snail pace. It certainly takes us awhile to get to the end, where it’s arguably the best part of the movie. But I seriously think they could have trimmed the film down to 2 hours and it still would have been a strong film. Another complaint was that were absolutely no extras on this disc. I know they are releasing this around Oscar time but give me a break, there could have been some extras included on this DVD. I would have liked to have seen a making of featurette, commentary and even some featurettes on Jesse James. Perhaps Warner Brothers will release a special edition DVD?
If you like westerns and other history-based movies, you’ll probably appreciate & like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. The movie is long and slow, but it’s still an excellent film with terrific performances from the cast.
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
SPANISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen 2.35:1 Color (Anamorphic)
English, Spanish, French
Favorite Scenes: I really liked the last half hour
Running Time: 159 minutes