April 2, 2009

Movie Review: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

PLOT: The true story of how one of Jesse James' own gang members assassinated him.
STARS: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Rockwell
I have heard so much about this movie, I was expecting to be blown away. I really wasn't. Affleck is Ford, he joins the James gang having idolized Jesse his whole life. He's let down though and plots a way to take him down. That part is easy to understand. I got lost in another part of the plot where Jesse is trying to track down certain members of his gang. Who was he tracking again? Who is secretly plotting with whom? And who is who exactly? It got a little confusing for me.
However, I am going to recommend this to anyone who is a Brad Pitt or Casey Affleck fan or if you're just a student of acting studies. These two are amazing. As Jesse James, Brad Pitt goes from confidence to suspicion to depression to resignation. Sometimes all in one scene and with few words. He can see the end is coming and yet he's powerless to stop it.
And Casey Affleck. He's not just the tag along little brother of Ben Affleck. If you've only seen him in Good Will Hunting or any other side kick role, you are missing out. This came out the same year that Gone Baby Gone came out (another great movie). He's so good. His Robert Ford has spent his whole life almost worshipping Jesse James. He doesn't just want to be like him, he wants to be him. But reality never holds up to our illusions. You can see the exact moment that Robert becomes disenchanted with Jesse. Robert is a man who longs for grander things and sometimes fools himself into thinking he's got it but ends up worse off than he ever expected. These two are the only reason to see the movie but they are worth watching. (***)

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