The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 7, 2007
Meticulously made, with some beautiful images, but far too long and far too languidly paced.
½ October 29, 2015
Slow artfully done western about possibly the most famous of all the gunman of the old west....a slow burn but worth it.
October 25, 2015
One of my favourite films. A little long, perhaps, and the title absurdly so, but this is more than made up for. The acting and casting are spectacular. The soundtrack is beautiful. The story is accurate and insightful, and the tone is set perfectly. You should absolutely watch this film if you want to see beyond the myth to the man who was Jesse James.
½ October 21, 2015
Really, really not fun to watch.
October 18, 2015
A criminally-underrated masterpiece of American cinema. The performances from the entire cast are exceptional most notably Casey Affleck's role as Robert Ford, the cinematography is breathtaking and is perhaps the best work done by DOP Roger Deakins, and the narrative remains strong with a reflection on the contemporary views towards celebrity status and infamy.
September 5, 2007
Brilliant story remade.
½ January 25, 2012
Beautifully directed, filmed, and scored, the immensely talented cast strengthens the already incredible period piece. Its long, its slow, but it never feels dull or boring. The writing and performances entirely engrossing, filled with gorgeous cinematography from beginning to end. A eulogy for Robert Ford.
½ October 8, 2015
I am surprised to see that the Assassination of Jesse James did not receive more acclaim. To my mind it is just short of a modern classic: beautifully shot with gorgeous landscapes and nice costuming, strong pacing (to the extent that it did not feel like a long movie), and excellent acting. The only thing missing was an overpowering portrayal of Jesse James. Pitt's performance is solid but does not rank up there with DDL's Plainview in There Will Be Blood or Javier Bardem's Chigurh in No Country For Old Men. Nonetheless, the Assassination of Jesse James is a high four stars.
½ September 15, 2009
If Terrence Malick did a western, this is what it would look like. "The Assassination of Jesse James: By the Coward Robert Ford" unfortunately doesn't measure up to what it could of been, a masterpiece. Filled with spectacular cinematography, and impeccable score, and awesome performances by both Brad Pitt as Jesse James and Casey Affleck as the somewhat disturbed Robert Ford, the movie still doesn't become the epic yet powerful drama western it could have been. And that is a real shame because a movie with this much potential should have been a masterpiece hands down especially since this is Brad Pitt territory after doing movies like "Legends of the Fall," and "A River Runs Through It," this should have been another phenomenon that he could have added to his already impressive resume, but it's not and that is what makes the movie a tragic film in some ways. It just goes to show what sounds good on paper, sometimes isn't on film.
½ June 19, 2015
the most beautifully photographed film I have ever seen. Subtle, cunning piece of filmmaking, just like Jesse James is remembered. Brad Pitt was great... and Casey Affleck was even better. Amazing cast. Amazing direction. Amazing lighting and production design working for each other.
May 27, 2015
The only thing I would change about this deft, beautifully designed, masterfully crafted bit of film folklore is the narration. At times it just feels intrusive, and at others it's a bit like a History Channel documentary. Otherwise, this gripping, slow-burning account of the legendary fates of outlaw Jesse James and his assassin is just about perfect. Roger Deakins' subtle, expertly lit cinematography makes it the best-looking western in decades, whether framing a character's quandary against a waving wheatfield or silhouetting characters to emphasize the unreal nature of America's myths. Brad Pitt gives the best performance of his career as a thoughtful, taciturn Jesse, but Casey Affleck is the real draw as Robert Ford, a stammering, hemming, grinning savant everyone brands as an imbecile. The evolution of Sam Rockwell from a simple "rube" (as the narration describes) to a calculating, intense loner ominously reminiscent of the ill-fated Jesse is also spellbinding, as is the swaying, minimalist score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. The film takes its time, but earns each one of its 160 minutes with riveting suspense, panoramic beauty, and a haunting sense of loss that evokes the fates of not only the larger-than-life characters, but the America in which they lived.
May 10, 2015
One of the greatest films I've seen in a long time. The cinematography is beautiful to behold, the dialogue is incredible, and the performances are incredibly compelling. This film is so rich and poetic, I believe every single scene is a candidate for its best. Such a wonderful story, captured perfectly in every aspect. Sure to become one of my favourites.
August 8, 2013
Quite a good film but does drag a bit as it's quite long and the title sort of gives the ending away.
½ March 28, 2015
Though long, this movie contains some pretty moving scenes and it's a great effort which retells the final months of Jesse James life. It's about a younger member of the notorious James Gang who becomes drawn to him but he soon fears him killing him and he thinks about doing the unthinkable. The soundtracks are moving and they're emotional and powerful. For a western, the actual gun-slinging is kept to a minimum as the movie focuses on the characters themselves. Dominik's direction is near flawless. He lingers long on shots and he captures the characters expressions and uneasiness. By using this style, he allows the characters to give near perfect performances. However, the film doesn't explore these concepts thoroughly and leaves it a bit too ambiguous. I don't like it when films spell everything out for me. Another feature the film lacks detail in is the female cast. They are insignificant and are reduced to mere cameos. When this played at the Venice film festival, it was 4 hours long. It was cut shorter since then but my issues with the length would probably be more bigger had it not been cut down. I don't think this movie is a masterpiece like many other people think but it's very close to one and it is rather underrated. If you like slower paced movies then this is for you.
April 12, 2015
There is no other movie like it.
½ March 11, 2015
Much like 'Bonnie and Clyde' the subject matter offers this film a free run on keeping the audience's attention. Such renowned characters, that have gone down in American folklore, do not need much work to add depth and intrigue. Where this film lets itself down is the lack of pace to the film. Everything is slow and ponderous, despite the large quantities of very real and well-chronicled drama Jesse James produced.
February 24, 2015
This is movie-making at its finest. The scenery is gripping, powerful, and dark. The soundtrack is haunting, bleak, and carries with it a certain emptiness that teeters on the edge of sanity. The movie itself is a brilliant character-study, not a western so much as it is a psychological drama. Brad Pitt portrays James as a very intelligent but highly paranoid sociopath who is an expert at reading people and seems to always be a step ahead of anyone else. The tone of the room completely changes when Jesse is in it, and this is uncomfortably palpable as you watch the movie. When Jesse asks a question, he doesn't do it to know the answer but instead to see how the person reacts to the question(most of the time it seems like he knows the answer to his questions already); when someone asks Jesse a question, his mind isn't directed toward answering but instead is driven towards a suspicion of why the question was asked to begin with. You get the feeling that everything Jesse does is calculated and premeditated, even his own death. Casey Affleck plays Robert Ford wonderfully as an insecure young man with story-book dreams of being famous but very little insight to the fact that his off-putting personality is not one people are drawn to(but instead mock). Jesse James, his long-time idol for which he had an unhealthy obsession, does not respond to him as perhaps he had dreamed, and he realizes he will never achieve fame the way Jesse did. He resorts to cowardly measures that, for a time, make him feel as big as he thinks he should be but they ultimately fail and lead to a downfall that he deserves. It leaves you wondering, was it Robert Ford who assassinated Jesse James or was it the other way around? This is a movie I will remember for a long time.
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