Sunday, April 6, 2008

Andrew Dominik - "The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford"

A surprisingly subtle and well-scripted (though long-winded) film from New Zealand-born director Andrew Dominik (who's only past film credit prior was the seldom-seen 'Chopper', which I've never seen, though I do own Bad Seed Mick Harvey's soundtrack (on his 'Motion Picture Music 1994-2005' CD). Starring tabloid-hog Brad Pitt as the outlaw Jesse James, and Casey 'the other' Affleck as obsessive man-child Robert Ford, 'Assassination' is a strikingly artful portrayal of one man's failure to connect with his heroes, and his jealousy at those around him. Ford is shown as a needy and immature 20 year-old, and one who's not all too likeable or trustworthy. In fact, to put it bluntly, he's a miserable sniveling little prick. Pitt's Jesse James, on the other hand, seems a fair and likeable kind of guy, despite his being a murderer and feared robber. A top-notch supporting cast (Sam Rockwell, Sam Shepard, Mary Louise-Parker, Zooey Deschanel) certainly helps, too, and the cinematography is quite artful, with plenty of soft and fisheye camera views (kind of confusing and unnecessary, but tasteful nonetheless) and wide landscapes. At 2.5 hours, it's a wee bit long, but still an engrossing and memorable viewing experience. And, I can't neglect to mention that one Nick Cave appears in the film, (appropriately enough, singing in a bar), and his score (with Warren Ellis) is superbly crafted and fittingly minimal, echoing the whispery, dusky vibes of the old West. Worthy of the accolades and awards it's been granted. Watch the trailer here.

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