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


This was one of those films that I felt that I needed to watch years ago. So, when it was on sale somewhere, I picked it up, took it home and watched it. And thought it was boring, a complete waste of time. Yet, I held on to the DVD. I think I knew that I was missing something. I moved into a new place, and I’ve been cutting down on belongings. I never had a huge DVD collection, but I’m culling. But, there have been several DVDs and books that I don’t want to get rid of until I give them another chance, and this was one of them. And thank goodness.

I cannot recall what mood or state I was in when I first watched this, but it mustn’t have been great.

Essentially, the film tells of the later months of the legendary criminal, Jesse James. It is a story of conspiracy and mistrust, with Jesse and the various new members of his gang that he doesn’t trust, and who don’t trust each other. They visit each other, they lie, and eventually (it’s not a spoiler –it’s in the title) Jesse James (Brad Pitt) is killed by Robert Ford (Casey Affleck), a young man who idolised James throughout his young life.

It is very slow-moving, but it is so beautiful. The slow pacing gives the space for deep, deep emotion. The relationships are complex. And the soundtrack is amazing – but what more can we expect from Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford was nominated for Oscars for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Casey Affleck) and Best Achievement in Cinematography (Roger Deakins)



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