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Rami Malek originally auditioned for the role of Sweetie, but the role went to Nate Parker. However director David Lowery was so impressed with Malek's audition that he decided to give him the small role of Will later in the film. See more »
When Bob visits Skerritt and they embrace, Bob is clearly wearing a wedding ring which is not present in any other scene including in the continuation of this meeting. Given Bob Muldoon and Ruth Guthrie's differing names it could be presumed they are not married. See more »
You shot me. Why did you shoot me? I never even seen you.
What's this about? Money?
It's not you. You and the girl. Everything you tried to do.
You're gonna shoot me?
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Violence, honor, sacrifice: Characters with a metaphysical resonance
Writer/director David Lowery has gathered a superb cast of actor to explore a rather simple story, a cinematic folksong in the western sense (the film is set in the 1970s but could easily be timeless so far reaching are the themes): quite simply it is the tale of an outlaw who escapes from prison and sets out across the Texas hills to reunite with his wife and the daughter he has never met.
Bob Muldoon (Casey Affleck) and his wife/girlfriend Ruthie Guthrie (Rooney Mara) and their kin Freddy (Kentucker Audley) have been 'raised' by a man named Skerritt (Keith Carradine) and are bank robbers. In their latest attempt Freddy is killed and Ruthie shoots at and wounds Sheriff Patrick Wheeler (Ben Foster), but to protect his pregnant wife Bob takes the blame and is sent to prison for four years. Bob writes Ruth daily and longs to be reunited with her and their new daughter Sylvie and escapes the prison by cajoling a guard. Escaping means walking and hitchhiking with a young lad named Will (another impressive turn for Rami Malek). Bob finds a Gilead with Sweetie (Nate Parker) but is determined despite the odds to walk his way back to Ruthie as he had promised. Ruthie meanwhile is making do, raising Sylvie on her own, has been given a house by Skerritt, and is courted by the Sheriff she shot (he does not know that the shooter was Ruthie). There is as much silence in the film as there is dialogue, the characters meditating on the fragility of love and the sense of unpredictable fate. The ending is deeply moving.
Bradford Young provides the hypnotic cinematography, allowing the story to unfold gradually (if a bit too long under Lowery's direction). The performances are all memorable, but it is that of Rooney Mara who likely will be in the running for awards. But foremost it is the concept and the technique of cinematic experimental excellence that makes this film a jewel, the work of an important new artist in David Lowery.
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