Thursday, 8 November 2007

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Dir: Andrew Dominik (Chopper)
Cast: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard, Paul Schneider, Sam Rockwell
USA, 2007

Seen: September 25, 2007 at the Varisty

Reason to see: As a part of my See 1 film a week in the theatre for a year. It also had big buzz at TIFF 07.

I was very surprized that I didn't get much from this film after there was so much buzz for it and I am astounded that it is #7 on Imdb's top westerns. Considering the screening I saw had a fairly small house I couldn't get a sense of the other viewer's enjoyment level. The film is set in the time of westerns, with the characters of westerns but at the pace of a drama. A very slow drama at that, and I am not opposed to films that have a slow pace, often I like them, but I didn't feel the effect of the slowness added to the film in any way. The number of long, drawn out shots of Brad Pitt as Jesse James doing a whole lot of nothing are far too numerous to be of any effect. The portrayal of Jesse James was also very different than any other I'd seen and it showed him not as the legendary man but merely someone who appeared to be at the right place at the right time instead of my previous impression which is that of someone of particular adeptness and charisma.

The one saving grace of the film was Casey Affleck who provided an astounding performance. I will be surprized if he doesn't snag oodles of nominations this upcoming awards season, although I would predict it will likely be oddly as supporting even though he has the majority of the screen time.

Shannon's Overall View:
I was bored while watching it
I'd not watch it again
I'd recommend it lightly to those who like long, slow drawn out films about iconic people

20 minutes of preshow including 12 commericals (!!!!) and 5 previews: P.S. I Love You, Michael Clayton, There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men, The Darjeeling Limited

I have to say, to have 20 minutes of preshow before a 2h40min film is just wrong.

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© Shannon Ridler, 2007


Ryan McNeil said...

I really dug this one, but I won't try to argue you into seeing it differently.

What I WILL mention though is the pace...since classic westerns are in fact usually a touch on the slow side. L-o-o-o-o-o-ng exposition, quick climax (usually a gunfight), and done.

Compare it to UNFORGIVEN or THE SEARCHERS, as opposed to BUTCH & SUNDANCE or 3:10 TO YUMA.

You're spot-on with 20 mins of ads being way too much for this sort of screening though. When will they start to have mercy?

Suzie Ridler said...

That sounds endless! Three hours with all the pre-show crap, ugh. I hope they don't wonder why some people choose to show up late to movies now, I'm actually tempted here and there.

I like the premise about Jesse James not necessarily being extraordinary, just that it was all about timing. Maybe I'll watch it on video but I'm not rushing out to a theatre and spending a lot of $ to be bored.

Anonymous said...

I think the movies portrays Jesse as a guy burdened by his own legend. He came across as a larger than life presence but also as listless and despondent. Emotionally he's in the autumn of life.

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