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
Jeremy Renner was originally considered for the role of Robert Ford, but he was ultimately thought to be too old for the character. The director in turn offered him the role of Wood Hite, which Renner accepted. See more »
Early in the movie when the gang are sitting around in the woods talking, the shotgun one of the men is holding spontaneously disappears and reappears between a shot. Also, during the same sequence he is seen holding it in at least two different ways between shots. 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 »
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.
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