How to make yet another Jesse James movie? Like this. The best acting is done by Casey Affleck. I hardly found Brad Pitt convincing in his role—try as he did to portray a complex man who knows his end but still walks towards it. In my opinion, Brad Pitt has always done a poor job of portraying a sad man who feels extremely deep emotion. Maybe that's what made him right for the part? Since Jesse may have been much more guarded with his emotions.
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.