The last months of Jesse James's life, from meeting Robert Ford, a 19-year-old who idolizes Jesse, to the day Ford shoots him. Jesse's a wanted man, living under a pseudonym, carrying out a train robbery, disappearing to Kentucky, and reappearing to plan a bank holdup with Robert and Robert's brother as his team. The rest of the gang is dead, arrested, or gone from Missouri. Whenever Jesse's around, there's tension: he's murderous, quixotic, depressed, and cautious. Ford wants to be somebody and wants the reward. On April 3, 1882, things come to a head: Jesse is 34, Robert 20. Ford becomes famous, reenacting the shooting on stage, facing down the label "coward," shot dead in 1892. Written by
Sam Shepard (Frank James) was in his 60s and Brad Pitt (Jesse James) was in his 40s during filming. The characters they play are supposed to be in their 30s. Casey Affleck was in his early 30s which approximates Bob Ford's age during the epilogue but is much older than Ford's age during the main plot. See more »
People in the saloon sing "A Bird in a Gilded Cage." The scene takes place in 1892; the song was written in 1900. See more »
He was growing into middle age, and was living then in a bungalow on Woodland Avenue. He installed himself in a rocking chair and smoked a cigar down in the evenings as his wife wiped her pink hands on an apron and reported happily on their two children. His children knew his legs, the sting of his mustache against their cheeks. They didn't know how their father made his living, or why they so often moved. They didn't even know their father's name. He was listed in the city ...
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The film does not contain either an opening title nor intro credits. The film title is displayed first after the final fadeout. See more »
I've been thinking of a good way to start my review, I've been pondering many opening sentences, but none of them are close enough to the point, so I've decided to just say that this film is perfect in all aspects. When the credits started to roll I didn't move at all, I sat staring at the screen just thinking about what I just watched. I was trying to understand if what I just saw was really that good, or if I was just thinking it was. The film runs at almost three hours, but never looses your attention for one second. It moves forward through dialog that is poetic, but increasingly haunting at times.
First off, the performances. Brad Pitt as Jesse Jame makes you feel that he is a vulnerable person, and then at the next second he'll make you completely change all your feelings for him. He doesn't talk much in the film, but is none the less flawless. Casey Affleck as Robert Ford is in his best performance ever, makes you hate him. His character is very shaky, very nervous at times, but always seems confident of what he's doing, whether it's right of wrong. He steals most of the scenes he's in. The biggest surprise however for me was Sam Rockwell as Charley Ford, Robert's brother and Jesse's right hand man. At the beginning of the film, you think that Charley is the stupid brother and that Robert is intelligent beyond any standard Charley could reach. At the end of the film though, the roles switch. You realize that Robert has been making all the dumb decisions, and Charley has been trying to save him by covering them up and usually taking all the crap for it. His last scene was intense and beautiful. One other performance to talk about is Paul Schneider as Dick Liddil, an outlaw womanizer. His performance is somewhat comedic, but in some scenes he can be the backbone for the drama. I can easily see Pitt getting a Best Actor nomination while Affleck pulls in the Supporting Actor for the win.
The musical score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis is on par with Clint Mansell's classic Requiem for a Dream score, if not better. In the films most horrific scenes, the music turns them into something beautiful. You'll want to sit through the end credits just to hear it one more time. The music will draw you back to the film to see it again. The score also fits the tone for the most of the scenes.
Andrew Dominik's direction is perfect. He uses the camera in such a unique way that you never miss anything that happens. In one of the film's best scenes, he places the camera so that you can only see Pitt's silhouette become meshed into a train's smoke and then reappear seconds later as it pops out. Dominik also wrote the entire script by himself, which really shows how versatile he is. He originally wrote the film into a 3hr and 50min cut that the studio made him trash. I can't wait to see that cut.
The best thing in the film though, is Roger Deakins' cinematography. That is what you gives the feel for the film. The blurry landscapes, the wheat fields that Pitt gracefully moves through, and the greatest train robbery scene ever on film. It perfectly portrays the landscapes of the old 1800's and everything that took place there. The film is consistent with providing one memorable scene after the other. When the assassination finally happens, you'll be sitting in your chair gawking at the screen in amazement of how sudden it happens.
I am very proud to say that this is now my favorite film of all time, and my definite choice for Best Picture of the year. It brings new flavor to the art-house scene and never lets you down. I recommend this film to everyone. It truly is a beautiful film.
I give it a 10 out of 10
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