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
Arguably, the term "motor" was not widely used. It was defined as, "machine that supplies motive power" in 1856. To engineers, it is a term for machines that are electrically or tension-fed (as in springs) and "engines" supplied by chemical means or processes (internal combustion or steam). At that time, the only commonly known use of "motors" is in toys...which may be why Jesse (or the culture at the time) used the term, "motor" for what is happening inside a person's (Robert, in this case) head--including the mention of gears.
In the scene where Jesse is planning the Platte robbery, Jesse refers to Robert's fear as, "motor." (Arguably), the term should have been more closer to Jesse's experience by referring Roberts fear as, "engine" because the most common "machine that supplies motive power" that Jesse has the most familiarity with would be the steam engine. "Motor" and "engine" have been misused so much that they are now interchangeable in the dictionary. 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 ...
See more »
The film does not contain either an opening title nor intro credits. The film title is displayed first after the final fadeout. See more »
Wow, does this film have style or what? The Assassination of Jesse Jamed by the Coward Robert Ford, is one of the longest titles I've ever seen for a film and the movie's run-time follows the same pattern. I have no problem with this. I would sit through a ten hour "Jesse James" because of the excellent tone given out by director Andrew Dominik. The frozen Missouri/ Kansas landscapes are a treat for the eyes. The musical score does its job: to blend into the film so subtly that I cant imagine the images on the screen without it. The narration neither detracts or adds to the tone, although there is one bit of bad editing that confused my friend as to whether the narrator was speaking or a man's voice had been dubbed poorly.
"Jesse James" delves deep into the inner conflicts and emotions of every character. We live with them, eat with them, and often feel their pain or their confusion. This confusion is often associated with the bi-polar nature of the film's central character, Jesse James, played by none other than Brad Pitt. Casey Affleck delivers a subtle performance here that actually becomes the most effective as the film progresses over its 160 minute running time. I hated Robert Ford for a good portion of the film, thought he was so annoying and clingy that it was a wonder Jesse James didn't kill him within the first day of their complex relationship. But then, as I sat through the so called "gruelling" running time of the film, I learned to feel for him and understand his motives and attraction for Jesse. But ultimately, his childhood, comic book worship of the famous outlaw changes.
The "style" of the film is evident in the first frame of passing clouds. Roger Deacon's cinematography is the best I've seen since Conrad Hall's work in Road to Perdition, perhaps better. He is definitely winning the Oscar this year, between this and No Country For Old Men. There is a scene involving a train robbery where the visuals and utter style blew me away. The lighting and camera direction becomes more subtle and less noticeable after the train scene, but, does not lessen in quality and pure artistry. There is a topic on the IMDb message boards approaching the topic of whether certain films should be labeled "art films." Well all films are works of art, some are horrendous, some are extraordinary. Well, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is an extraordinary work of art.
135 of 184 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?