The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
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Assassination of Jesse James, The (DVD) (WS)
International superstar Brad Pitt (Troy) stars as legendary outlaw Jesse James in this Western drama based on Ron Hansen's best-selling novel The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford.A charismatic, superstitious and moody man, Jesse James (Pitt) presides over a ragtag gang of outlaws who fear his quick temper and even quicker shooting ability. Young Robert Ford (Casey Affleck - Ocean's Twelve) worships Jesse and joins the James Gang, only to become resentful of his hero. Intent on taking Jesse's place, the young upstart hatches a plan to kill the fastest gun in the West. But after gunning Jesse James down, Robert Ford lives out the rest of his days tormented by the cold-blooded killing of his former mentor.]]>
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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.