The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
DVD + HD DVD
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• IMPORTANT NOTICE: This two-sided HD DVD combo disc will only play in high definition with an HD DVD player. It will play in standard definition with a DVD player or Blu-ray player.
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Everyone in 1880s America knows Jesse James. Hes the nations most notorious criminal, hunted by the law in 10 states. Hes also the lands 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. Hell befriend Jesse, ride with his gang. And if that doesnt bring Ford fame, hell find a deadlier way. Friendship becomes rivalry and the quest for fame becomes obsession in this virile epic produced in part by Ridley Scott and featuring gripping portrayals by Brad Pitt (winner of the Venice Film Festival Best Actor Award) as Jesse and Casey Affleck as the youth drawn closer to his goal and farther from his own humanity.
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Casey on the other hand mastered being a frail, angry, vengeful, weak willed man who lusted after, if not fame, just a little recognition. The narration is key to the soul of this movie—both in tone and pace. I couldn't imagine a better one. Visually, while not the most stunning and awe inspiring cinematography, it ranks high. Everything seemed authentic and the palette was at once rich and warm and cold sterile. You can feel the dirt, the hardwood floors, the waves of grain.
It is a mostly a melancholy movie. There are moments of levity among thieves. But what this movie did so well was portray the distrust and heavily soul wrenching, mentally taxing times common among men who saw no real future, saw only what was theirs to take or steal before the sun went down.
The soundtrack by Nick Cage held the movie together better than any I've heard. Simple, heavy, augmented it underscored the tension and hinted at the end we all knew was coming.
Brad Pitt deserved an Oscar for his performance.
Casey Affleck deserved an Oscar for his performance.
Cinematography, music, and screenplay all deserved Oscars.
This film should have run away with the awards, but it's not for everyone. Don't look for gunfights and sarcastic wit, a la Clint Eastwood. Nope, this is a different animal. You have to let it sink in. You have to observe the subtle changes of facial expression to understand what makes these actors (and the director) as good as they are. Let it fill your soul. Feel the characters' emotions. And the damn thing is based on a true story to boot!
Be warned the movie is very slow paced but it is worth it for those interested. Another highlight of the film I must add is the beautiful soundtrack that captures the mood and intentions of the characters James and Ford in with every piece.
All in all this is an excellent purchase and a shame that the original release got little fanfare.