Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Assassination of Jesse James

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

Ranking: Meh

Existential, paranoid Western about, as the title would imply, the events leading to and following the assassination by Jesse James (Brad Pitt) by the weeener Robert Ford (Casey Affleck).

I sort of liked this movie... I mean, it was beautifully photographed (shot in Canada's Texas), it had that based-on-a-novel goodness, complete with narration, and hells, it was a Western. Westerns are awesome.

But Casey Affleck was so annoying. He was weenie, but not quite weenie enough to be interesting. He was just slightly weenie, and really irritating.

Generally speaking, I don't like Brad Pitt unless he's playing some kind of unconventional weirdo or total maniac (i.e., 12 Monkeys, Fight Club, Snatch or True Romance), but I did like his performance in this. I never thought of him as Brad Pitt.

The biggest problem I really had with this movie was that, like the title, it was so unbelievably long. It could have been shaved by about an hour and made no difference whatsoever. I don't even remember what was taking up all that space. It seemed like a ninety minute, times two...

Two and a half hours of Casey Affleck being annoying. It was a killer. Apparently, the original cut was four hours long, so I should be thankful, really. Granted, I've watched the extended cut of Return of the King many times, but still, that pushes it. I have to get up and make a sandwich in the middle, and generally prefer the theatrical version. Although there is that one scene in there...

But I digress. This movie was good and not the mindless action-Western I am accustomed to (nothing wrong with action-Westerns...). It wasn't even a Western so much. I dunno, whatever. Still, it was too long for me to really pay attention to what was going on. There should be, like, a 90 minute loser-cut for those of us with short attention spans.


Written and Directed by:
Andrew Dominik, based on the novel by Ron Hansen. Starring: Casey Affleck, Brad Pitt, Sam Rockwell, Jeremy Renner, Sam Shepard, Garret Dillahunt, Paul Schneider, Mary-Louise Parker.

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