Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Assassination of Jesse James

By the Coward Robert Ford
Andrew Dominik, 2007 (7.8*)
This is a fictitious account of the last days of Jesse James, from a novel by Ron Hansen. A bit slow, the film nevertheless has a leisurely grace and almost epic length, and with some stunning cinematography by Roger Deakins, becomes another in the line of elegaic westerns (The Claim, Open Range).

Casey Affleck shines as the Ford brother who ultimatey shot Jesse James, and this film is really all about his life, as it continues after the incident. Brad Pitt is good as James, but Affleck is really the better actor in this, and garnered an Oscar® nomination, and several smaller awards as best supporting actor.

Director Dominik, in only his second film, evokes Terence Malick's Days of Heaven for style and pace. For me, down a star for length, 2 hrs would have been enough, and since his first film was Chopper, maybe next time he can find the middle ground with the title's length.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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