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The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

Duration 2h 40m Rating (UK) 15
Source of story Real events and a novel of the same name by Ron Hansen
Writers/Script Andrew Dominik
Additional Info The director of photography was Roger Deakins, who is said to have claimed that the night time scene of the train robbery was his crowning achievement.
Director Andrew Dominik
Starring Brad Pitt, Mary-Louise Paker, Casey Affleck, Sam Rockwell, Jeremy Renner, Sam Shepard, Garret Dillahunt, Paul Schneider, Ted Levine
Elevator Pitch Frank and Jesse James have survived the loss of most of their gang members but in 1881 decide to carry out one last train robbery using a group of local villains. The robbery is not a success, and the gang lean towards the betrayal of Jesse in order to claim the reward. One of his closest associates, Charley Ford, introduces his younger brother Robert, and as the forces of the law get close in on them they are forced to act to avoid arrest.
Content There is quite a bit of narration, maybe trying to clarify what we are seeing on screen. Horsemen ride over the wide open spaces. There are threatening moments of interaction and some gunfire as gang members are killed. Domestic scenes in Jesse’s house as he plays with his children. A general air of poverty in the shacks inhabited by the gang, possibly a counterpoint to the general increase in civilisation in the cities all over the USA. One implied sexual encounter, almost constant smoking of cigars, a bit of drinking.
A View Some of the critics thought that this was wonderful, but I am with the group who thought it was far too long and far too mannered, and without already being able to anticipate the ending it is the sort of film you might give up on. As it is you have to keep watching to get to the already known conclusion. It is fascinating in its own sepia coloured way, so read a bit of Jesse James history and settle down to watch it with a couple of beers when you have nothing better to do.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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