The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
It´s a cold winter in Missouri in the early 1880s, and America´s most famous outlaw is feeling suspicious, unstable, emotionally spent. This lengthy novel adaptation by Australian writer-director Andrew Dominik (Chopper) gives us only a brief taste of Jesse James as the young, romantic hero of books and folksongs. Towards the end of his life(and he was only 34 when he died), his once-formidable band of robbers was disintegrating, he was the target of a statewide manhunt, and James himself was shaken by mood swings and worsening health. Brad Pitt won a Best Actor award at Venice for his accomplished portrayal of James, which captures not only the outlaw´s natural charm and ruthlessness but also the dark streaks that were spreading across his temperament. But the film is really about Bob Ford, an ambitious, earnest 19-year old who, when thwarted of his dreams or disillusioned by his heroes, quickly turns sour. Casey Affleck(younger brother of the more famous Ben) provides the film´s second great performance as the soft-spoken creep who eventually decides to shoot his boyhood idol. And despite the epic running time and the cold, gorgeous cinematography of Roger Deakins(who recently shot No Country For Old Men), this film´s real point lies in the meeting of these two actors, with each character providing only the tiniest hint of what is actually on his mind, and the audience left guessing.
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