20 January 2013 5:04 PM, PST | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Long before its title credit comes up, writer-director David Lowery's "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" establishes a gorgeously elegiac tone. From the opening shot, in which outlaw Bob Muldoon (Casey Affleck) engages in a scuffle with fellow robber and wife Ruth (Rooney Mara) before learning that she's pregnant, Lowery conveys a hauntingly antiquated world that transcends its routine plot. As beautifully shot as it is performed by its two leads, "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" channels genre expectations into sheer poetry. "This was in Texas," reads a hand-scrawled introductory note, which defines the environment using the same casual abstractions found throughout the movie. Cinematographer Bradford Young ("Pariah") captures wide open vistas that lend a storybook feel both strangely alien and familiar. The prologue surveys the four years that Bob spends behind bars after an ill-fated police showdown; Ruth goes free and gives birth to »

- Eric Kohn

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