The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford

May well be the most unwieldy title for a film for a long time. It may also account for why it didn’t appear in many cinemas – how do you fit that on the marquee? Pity really, having seen this I’d have loved to have seen it on a big screen, this is a seriously beautiful film, each shot framed to perfection. Not since The Fountain have I seen something that looked so painterly.

A revisionist western in the style of Unforgiven it feels like a throwback to an earlier style of filmaking. The film that it bought to mind the most was Badlands – it has the same lyrical voiceover, the same focus on the quiet moments between crimes rather than the crimes themselves. Brad Pitt adopts a subtler version of his Twelve Monkeys schtick, less prone to verbal ticks and nods but still clearly insane. Unfortunately he is completely outshone by Casey Affleck as the deranged proto-stalker Robert Ford, all greasy charm and desire to be with the man he so obviously wants to be. Employing a thousand yard stare for much of the film, he feels less dangerous than Pitt, but more insane.

Is it worth watching? Yes, but beware of its glacial pace and if you need resolution within a film I’d recommend avoiding it. Those with an interest in photography however are advised to watch it with one finger over the pause button.

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