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The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Reviews

Wally Hammond
Time Out
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Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 3/5

November 18, 2011
Ben Kenigsberg
Time Out
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Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 4/5

November 17, 2011
Bob Mondello
NPR.org
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Writer-director Andrew Dominik takes his time with the story, but his languorous pacing allows tension to build -- and permits the actors, Affleck in particular, to add nuance and depth to characters who'll seem familiar only at first glance.

Full Review Source: NPR.org

October 18, 2008
Christopher Orr
The New Republic
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The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is the story...of the moment in America when myth was murdered by mere celebrity and we were left, perhaps forever, with only the latter's meager consolations.

Full Review Source: The New Republic

September 18, 2008
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
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Moseying along for 160 minutes, this revisionist western by writer-director Andrew Dominik makes a wan attempt to present the Jesse James legend as the dawn of celebrity culture in America.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

January 4, 2008
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
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Awesome splendor and a striking essay on celebrity reward those who brave the 2 1/2-hour run time.

Full Review Source: Denver Post | Original Score: 3.5/4

October 20, 2007
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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It's a view of the West beyond the myth that's worth enduring, if not relishing.

Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Original Score: 3/5

October 18, 2007
Calvin Wilson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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Brad Pitt as Jesse James: Seldom has an actor been so perfectly cast.

Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

October 13, 2007
Tom Long
Detroit News
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The one thing you're not supposed to do during a Western is doze off.

Full Review Source: Detroit News

October 12, 2007
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
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Assassination is contemplative and quiet, a studied film that is surprisingly engrossing, not to mention so handsomely made you can hardly take your eyes off it.

Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press | Original Score: 3/4

October 12, 2007
Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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A better title might have been Jesse James in the Age of Pop Therapy.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 2/4

October 11, 2007
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
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The movie has an almost hypnotic quality; its spare and often beautiful shots seem to sear themselves into the camera's lens.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3/4

October 5, 2007
Peter Hartlaub
San Francisco Chronicle
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Who would have imagined that a biopic about Jesse James could be so boring?

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 2.5/4

October 5, 2007
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
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This is a 160-minute art Western, and if you're up for such a beast it is a glory to behold. It's gorgeous, but rarely for the sake of mere gorgeousness, and languorous, but never listless.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: A-

October 5, 2007
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
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Mostly ponderous, despite the unceasingly beautiful imagery.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 2.5/4

October 5, 2007
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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The movie has the space and freedom of classic Western epics.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

October 5, 2007
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
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Everything about The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is longer than it needs to be. Its title, for one thing. Its duration -- two hours and 40 minutes! -- for another.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 2/4

October 4, 2007
Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
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As this old and twisted Jesse, Brad Pitt is quite good. But the movie really belongs to Casey Affleck as Robert Ford.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

October 4, 2007
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
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The oddest major studio release of the year, and one of the most admirable.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 3.5/4

October 4, 2007
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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If you love classic and stylish mood Westerns such as McCabe and Mrs. Miller and The Long Riders, this is your film.

September 25, 2007
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
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It is no mean feat to make a boring film about Jesse James, but Andrew Dominik has pulled it off in style.

Full Review Source: New Yorker

September 24, 2007
Claudia Puig
USA Today
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...heightened by a rare cinematic artistry that seamlessly melds a probing character essay with a lyrical Western epic.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 4/4

September 21, 2007
Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
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It's a western destined to outlive the pronouncements of its own death, because it knows that death is only the first stage in the life of legend.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 3.5/4

September 21, 2007
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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...an epic film that's part literary treatise, part mournful ballad, and completely a portrait of our world, as seen in a distant mirror.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 4/4

September 21, 2007
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
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The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is a gorgeous snooze.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 1.5/4

September 21, 2007
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
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The look and feel of the movie are as authentic as any Western since Robert Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller...

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 3/4

September 21, 2007
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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Hugely ambitious and not without moments of success, this indulgent 2 hour and 40 minute epic ends up as unwieldy as its elongated title.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 2.5/5

September 21, 2007
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
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A long, ambitious, fitfully rewarding movie.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 21, 2007
Scott Tobias
AV Club
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Pitt's subtle work -- relaxed and confident, yet seething with quiet menace -- is complemented beautifully by Affleck's enigmatic Ford, whose admiration for (and fear of) James distinguishes him from a run-of-the-mill scoundrel.

Full Review Source: AV Club | Original Score: A

September 20, 2007
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
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The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford represents a breakthrough in the moviegoing experience. It may be the first time we've been asked to watch a book on tape.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

September 20, 2007
Dana Stevens
Slate
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It's a shame that The Assassination of Jesse James, a moody epic directed by Andrew Dominik and based on the 1983 novel by Ron Hansen, never goes much deeper than that tag line.

Full Review Source: Slate

September 20, 2007
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
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The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford adds another gauzy chapter to the overtaxed James myth, if not much rhyme or reason, heart or soul.

| Original Score: 2.5/5

September 20, 2007
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
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I wish this movie wasn't so purposefully elegiac and attenuated -- at times it's like a middling Terrence Malick fantasia -- but it's well worth sitting through.

Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Original Score: B+

September 20, 2007
Jan Stuart
Newsday
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The Assassination of Jesse James is less of a Western than a mid-Western, which refers both to the film's urban Missouri center of gravity and its pivoting position between horse opera and backstage intrigue.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 3.5/4

September 20, 2007
David Fear
Time Out New York
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It's Dominik's uncompromising, uncommercial vision and the two leads that give the story such a wonderfully wounded grandeur.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 5/6

September 20, 2007
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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Dominik paints a richly detailed mosaic on locations in Calgary and Winnipeg, and you can only marvel at the visual miracles achieved by cinematographer Roger Deakins.

| Original Score: 3.5/4

September 20, 2007
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
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Parts of the movie are brilliant in a Terrence Malick-inspired way, but the lugubrious middle section is badly in need of the hand of a ruthless editor.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 20, 2007
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
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The extraordinary expressive performers, male and female; the haunting interior and exterior conflicts; the painstaking authenticity of the period detail; and the subtly modulated mood shifts all combine to make a modern masterpiece of an old legend.

Full Review Source: New York Observer

September 19, 2007
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
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A haunting retelling of one of the enduring outlaw sagas in American culture.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: A

September 19, 2007

Associated Press
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Affleck does something remarkable here with his performance: He makes you feel sorry for this weaselly, whiny, 19-year-old kid, yet fear him at the same time.

Full Review Source: Associated Press

September 18, 2007
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
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A psychological chamber drama in which the wide-open spaces are geographic as well as mental.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

September 18, 2007
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
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... gets smothered in pointlessly long takes, repetitive scenes, grim Western landscapes and mumbled, heavily accented dialogue.

September 4, 2007
Todd McCarthy
Variety
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It's a magnificent throwback to a time when filmmakers found all sorts of ways to refashion Hollywood's oldest and most durable genre.

Full Review Source: Variety

September 1, 2007
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