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The ending wasn’t great for me and the movie is a bit slow in places with an uneven tone. Still for David Lowery, it’s an interesting character piece with great performances, cinematography, and script. I wish the film had more pay off but for a first time film maker it’s a good effort.
This film was great!
an uneven saint and a genuine human..
Ain't Them Bodies Saint
Very few character driven features can carry such a heavy and layered concept through a wafer thin script and still be adequate for the viewers. The chemistry among the lead characters is written with passion that is clearly visible and felt to the audience where the excellence of both the execution and storytelling meets. The screenplay couldn't be more simpler yet is thought-provoking and is conveyed with a message to be explored upon. Addition to that there is enough craft and crisp for the audience to learn, chew and enjoy from. David Lowery is a brilliant director and he flaunts it in here with conviction where he is supported by amazing cinematography and perfect editing. There is no doubt raised upon on performance level, for both the lead actors; Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck, are in their A game and are the bridge that helps connect the audience to the anticipated vision. It is visually pleasing and is shot perfectly that makes it supremely watchable and entertaining as it lures the viewers in through such technical aspects. Ain't Them Bodies Saint is an uneven saint and a genuine human, as it comes with both pros and cons but more importantly acceptable and supportive.
Director Lowery's previous work with Affleck and Mara but whereas the recent 'Ghost Story' was difficult but thought provoking this is startlingly formulaic. Ask me in a week and I would struggle to separate it from the countless other Southern Based 'con on the run' flicks. It's a perfectly fine movie but nothing memorable here I'm afraid.
Good flick...not for everyone though.
"Bonnie and Clyde" for film-goers who appreciate atmospheric, melancholy art house.
A poetic sad little film that ends up being quite aimless come its final scenes. A movie where no characters get served any real justice but the movie tries to justify it with a realistic, sombre, art-house execution. Am I the only one a bit annoyed that Ruth is obviously going to end up with the very man she shot, who in turn put Bob in prison (as he took the blame) - leading to this whole tragic dilemma? It's true, the greatest love stories end in tragedy & sorrow - however this just annoyed the f*ck outta me.
I wanted to like it, really I did, but "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" drags its feet and makes it hard to care about its boring characters.
David Lowery's Ain't Them Bodies Saints has been compared to a Terrence Malick film for its lyrical tone, outlaw characters, persistent score, and painterly handheld cinematography. Such comparisons are understandable but a little unfair. Ain't Them Bodies Saints is more than a mere Malick rip-off. It's a lovely yarn about learning to let go, and while it's arguably not as meaningful or resonant as it could be, it's as well-acted as all hell and a signal of great things to come for its clearly talented writer-director.
The film is set in rural Texas during the 1970s, and it concerns itself primarily with two individuals-Bob Muldoon (Casey Affleck) and Ruth Guthrie (Rooney Mara). They're lovers when we meet them, but they aren't up to much good. Just five minutes into the film, they're involved in a shoot out that leaves a friend dead, a cop-Ben Foster's Patrick Wheeler-shot, and the couple torn apart. Ruth, who's pregnant with their child, feigns innocence (she fired the shot that wounded Wheeler), setting up a willing Bob to take the fall. He goes to prison and writes Ruth-now a single mother-nearly every day for four years. He's coming to get them, and they'll start over.
Bob's quest to reclaim his family feels untenable from the start, which lends a certain air of tragedy to the film throughout. It's not as if we necessarily want him to reunite with Ruth; if there was any doubt about them not being right for each other, we have the character of Skerritt (Keith Carradine), who's a sort of protector of Ruth and her daughter and who threatens anyone who means them harm, intentional or otherwise. Casey Affleck plays Bob with a doe-eyed doggedness that makes him sympathetic, even a little pitiable. And Lowery adds to this dynamic by writing Ruth in a way that makes her carry guilt over Bob's plight. (Mara, it should be noted, is excellent. In fact, this is probably her best performance to date.)
The film has a noir-like sensibility wherein it uses ominous music (the score is unique and brilliant) to unsettle its viewers without resorting to the thriller's playbook. Its characters, too, are mysterious, and while that also leads to some frustratingly one-note "black hat" moments, it helps advance the notion that every man should dread his neighbor in this world.
It's in terms of craft that the film is most impressive with the aforementioned score by Daniel Hart and Bradford Young's exquisite cinematography truly making the film what it is. There's a smallness to the story and setting that makes the film itself feel less than essential. But the grandness of Young's images will linger with you long after the details of Bob and Ruth's relationship have faded.
And that's where Lowery comes in. Here's a guy with immense talent, and leaving Ain't Them Bodies Saints, I'm happier that he's working in film and will have an outlet to express himself than I am with this particular effort. It's a fine movie, but one in which the whole doesn't add up to the sum of its parts.
Full review on WordsonFilms.com
From an atmospheric and an aesthetic standpoint, Ain't Them Bodies Saints is exceptionally lovely; but from a narrative one, it is less than spectacular.