At last, after waiting more than a year, I finally, finally saw "The Assassination of Jesse James..." today! In spite of movie critics' claims that this is a slow and plodding movie, I found that I really enjoyed it.
What the writer/ director did was take time to show what barren, paranoid lives James and his colleagues led. Their loveless lives were filled with months and weeks of planning robberies, some of which never even took place, between the quick thrills of a train or bank hold up.
James is not made out to be a Robin Hood hero. He is shown to be impulsive, cruel yet charming by turns. He was dangerous and anyone around him was apt to become a victim of his outbursts. Brad Pitt makes a credible Jesse James. Casey Affleck portrays a late-nineteenth century groupy who grew up admiring Jesse James while longing to become a member of his gang. He is so obsessed with James that at one point James asks him, "Do you want to be with me or do you want to BE me?"
We know how Robert Ford's obsession turns into murder, but I for one, did not know what eventually became of Robert Ford. The movie takes nearly three hours to take us to that point, but I thought every minute was worth it. The photography is at times breathtaking. Both Pitt and Affleck made the three hours tense and captivating.
In fairness, you must know that my husband did not share my enthusiasm for this movie and grew restless towards the end. He did not find this story worth telling. I, on the other hand, found it an exceptional character study. For Civil War enthusiasts, this is an exploration of what became of some of the men who engaged in irregular warfare during the war, but could not dial down their activities once the war ended.
Fan. I too enjoyed the movie very much. Casey Affleck is quite a good actor . I loved the scenery although seeing a Canadian Rocky Mountain in one sceen took away from the total involvement for a period of time. I notice that kind of thing in movies. Trust me the Missouri and Kansas I have seen does not have tall pointy mountains . Other than that I thought the character development was wonderful
worth the wait . There were some young men in the audience that told me they had drive in from Riverside to see the movie. That is about a 40 mile drive at least to where the theater was .
Susan, I'm really glad you enjoyed the movie. I, too, bridled at that scene with mountains in the background. As much attention to detail as the director paid throughout the movie, I was amazed he allowed such an egregious error to stand.
I thought Casey Affleck (Ben Affleck's younger brother) did an excellent job bringing Robert Ford to life. Hubby though Casey's voice was very irritating after awhile, but I thought that voice matched the personality of Ford...kind of a weakling who tried to prove himself worthy of his hero Jesse James while his family ridiculed of his efforts.
I can see Casey Affleck being nominated for an Oscar for best supporting actor and Brad Pitt for best actor. Whether either one wins is another matter.
As an aside, when I get my act together I will write my review of "Elizabeth: The Golden Years." Clive Owen as Sir Walter Raleigh was perfect casting even though when one looks at paintings of the mariner, one sees no physical resemblance at all.