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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July 4, 2016
Starring Brad Pitt, as Brad Pitt, this film although lauded by others is a safe, un-cinematic static film that doesn't create any suspense. Pretentious and dull, there is no reason why the characters are pulled together or quest they are working toward, so it just lumbers on to the inevitable of the clue giving the title.

Deakins lovers will ofcourse love this, but I dont think the work is anything special compared to others and at times was quite drab. The camera placement were always safe, mids and singles, no movement really or contruction of scenes, this played out like a documentary on the history channel.
July 2, 2016
One of the very best & most beautiful films I've ever seen. A masterpiece.
½ June 5, 2016
With gorgeous cinematography and fully convincing performances from Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck, "Assassination" embodies the madness and heart of one of America's most iconic figures.
½ June 4, 2016
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford can be summed up by its title; maybe a bit too long but I loved it anyway. The 153 minute run time doesn't make it the longest film in existence, but a slow early pace means it takes a while to get going. Once it does pick up it really is an exceptional piece of filmmaking.

A somewhat sluggish first act, and some slightly overused narration are my only complaints; other than that I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. The story is quite obvious from the title, Robert Ford (Casey Affleck), originally obsessed by Jesse James (Brad Pitt), eventually becomes James' downfall. This obsession is the focal point of the film and it is fascinating to see how it shifts to contempt and disdain. The two leads show both sides of this exceptionally, with Affleck playing the obsessed teen with an element of creepiness that makes the character at times rather unnerving. Pitt delivers one of his greatest performances, a man made uncertain by this overly interested gang member, but also someone of great influence and power who is respected and feared by the men he commands. This fear element is not unlike a lot of gangster films, there are several brilliantly tense moments in the second half between Affleck, Pitt and Sam Rockwell (playing Ford's older brother) that are not unlike the 'funny how?' scene from Goodfellas, with anxious glances and nervous laughter punctuating awkward silences.

The film is further improved by the perfectly chosen supporting cast, including Jeremy Renner and Paul Schneider, who all deliver believable and engaging performances that add to the story's emotion and tension. Roger Deakins' cinematography combined with the sharp editing is also a sight to behold. He perfectly captures the feel of every scene and the use of the camera in more intimate dialogue scenes allows the viewer to really get a feel for Ford's obsession and how his world seemingly revolves around James, cutting out friends and family and focusing only on the criminal. There are plenty of breath-taking scenery shots as well that make perfect use of the setting.

Despite my complaints, I really found this to be an intriguing and enthralling picture. It's not perfect but it's well worth a watch.
May 28, 2016
But what a stupit name!
½ May 25, 2016
Pretentious and overlong, the movie has some good parts. The performances are good, the musical score is okay, and I liked the realistic violence. The narration was a bit dull and the movie dragged, as most of the more interesting stuff came after the assassination bit. Overall its a decent western drama, not amazing.
½ May 16, 2016
The Assassination is a well-acted movie, but it's almost 3 hour run time made me feel every minute. There is definitely a greatness about this film, but it is a hard one to pay attention to for the whole run time. However, The Assassination is still a film everyone should at least consider seeing
½ May 2, 2016
The slow burning story unravels a character in Robert Ford that far surpasses the infamously large font name in the title, and Casey Affleck gives him the celebrity that he longed for.
April 19, 2016
A wonderful modern western. It is one of the better movies about Jessie James because it totally takes away myths about. The movie is also carried by a strong performance by Casey Affleck and gorgeous cinematography by Roger Deakins.
April 8, 2016
Had not watched this one since it first came out on DVD. I actually liked it more so this second time around.
March 15, 2016
You'll no more wanna go back to your body than you'd wanna spoon up your own puke.
½ February 29, 2016
Wasn't 2007 a great year for movies? Zodiac, There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men, how about this lesser celebrated classic?

A long, brooding western. Yet it is a treasure chest of acting. Casey Affleck gives his best performance as Robert Ford. Ruthlessly envious, and yes, a coward. Brad Pitt is equally amazing as Jesse James. Deakins is one of the very best cinematographers out there, and this is some of his best work. Even when he's not with the Coen bros. he's killing it elsewhere. Storytelling style was very well done, which included a great narration that reminded me of Ricky Jay's from Magnolia. What is even more interesting than the story leading up to the assassination. is what happens after, and the guilt, or lack thereof, from Rob Ford. He wanted to become a hero, and instead, became a loser, for all the people he thought hated Jesse James, had idolized him. Tragic irony, and karma is the main theme of this film, much like Amadeus. This was a great watch.
February 25, 2016
This is a masterpiece in the Western genre and of American cinema. A must-see for cinephiles!
February 22, 2016
Beautifully shot by Deakins and wonderfully acted by both its lead stars, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is a dark tale that explores the themes of innocence and guilt very well.
January 14, 2016
I had heard great things about this film, decided to see it, and was
not disappointed. What had taken me so long was never having seen
anything from Dominik before, and a difficulty with both Westerns in
general and in taking Brad Pitt's acting seriously, although the allure
and the mystique of the Jesse James mythology was certainly enough of a
pull for me to eventually give this film a chance, and I was certainly
glad in retrospect that I had the courage to watch it. I cannot
overemphasize how great was the cast, the music, the direction, and the
cinematography. Specifically I would recommend the film to those who
like me would nary the thought of watching either a Western or a Brad
Pitt-featured film. More films have to be made, not of action and
special effects but, like TAOJJBTCRF, that get into the hearts, minds,
and souls--the humanity, if you will--of the people with the holsters,
guns and horses. Many kudos to Dominik, and I actively look forward to
seeing more of his work in future.
January 14, 2016
The release of 3:10 to Yuma a few months back had me resuming enjoyment of the staples of the conventional Western in, for the most part, an entertaining action flick featuring the mighty talents of Ben Foster and Russell Crowe. So when anticipating this Jesse James film, I still had Yuma in mind and with it I expected more or less the same particular conventions. Not reading into what this film entailed to a great extent, I looked forward to it through word of mouth and because simply put, it's a Western.

I really, really like Westerns. No Country For Old Men, so far my number one contender for picture of the year, is a sort of modern Western, and "The Assassination..." is not without its twist on the genre. I did expect a certain degree of action, and what I got was instead rewarding character development, a psychological introspection where the conflict is more internal than external.

I couldn't help compare this to Eastwood's Unforgiven, which deals with similar themes of hero worship and the myth. The Jesse James we see in this film is far from the iconic badass we'd expect him to be. He's a flawed legend, coming to the end of his life amidst paranoia and despair. Robert Ford, the man who aspires to be like his idol, is overcome with fantasies of celebrity status that become the catalyst for the tragedy that disintegrates the legend of Jesse James and his gang of bandits.

The studio allegedly wanted this to be more action-oriented, but Andrew Dominik, screenwriter and director, got his way with the focus heavily on a character-driven examination of the cult of celebrity.

Brad Pitt puts in a good performance, as do his gang of followers, but the Oscar really deserves to go to Casey for this one. The younger Affleck brother really comes into his own in this one, perfecting Ford as an impressionable and dangerously jealous young man.

The cinematography can be credited to Roger Deakins, who also assumed the same role with No Country For Old Men. Congratulations to the man for choosing two great projects, of course. Every frame is gorgeous: clouds flit through the sky; a train halts in a cloud of smoke in front of James' silhouette...I could go on, the amount of memorable shots is endless. Sometimes it can get quite tiresome, the amount of blurry airbrush effects on the edge of the screen gives a persistent impression of "look what I can do", but for the most part the cinematography is absolutely beautiful and along with the scope of the locales it serves the psychological base of the movie well.

The only fault I can really give to the film is its use of narration. I find it funny both me and Marcus brought this up as the only flaw. There's a voice-over at certain points of the movie, explaining to us some fill-in info and mental state of the characters. This talks down to us in a sense, for example it divulges details of James' increasingly suspicious feelings towards Ford when we could have just as easily have gathered this from the expressions of each person, with all credit to how effective they were. I guess for that reason I've knocked half of a star off the perfect five; I feel it's a shame that a film that communicates so effectively the cold, tragic tone of its theme with Grade A cinematography and acting had to tack on some harmful voice-over narrative.

If anyone is (actually reading this and) starting to think I'm giving out too many high scores for films, take note that I've only given 4.5s/5s to five films this end of the year: Atonement, Control, Ratatouille, No Country For Old Men, Jesse James. They're all fully deserved of those scores, and they're all going to feature in my Top 10 of the year.

Seriously though, I highly recommend you see this film as soon as possible, while it's on the big screen preferably, to benefit from the gorgeous visuals and see why it deserves Oscar buzz. I'm not even going to mention the runtime because anyone that thinks that's a problem is a pretty much a dumbass, especially for a film like this that requires extensive examination of its subject. It's the heavy focus on introspection and not action that took me by surprise, left an impression and placed this among my top films of the year. Go see it~!
January 13, 2016
Pretty good. great performances all around. interesting plot, but really slow paced for me, and I enjoy slow paced films, and extremely long. very well directed from Andrew Dominik. he's a very talented director that I like. the ending was also brilliant and I like the Narration for the most part. enjoyed jt but jt was a little too slow and long.

½ December 10, 2015
A very good movie, I have never understood why it was not more successful commercially. Brad Pitt is excellent, and Casey Affleck deserved the Best Supporting Actor Oscar that went instead to Bardem, whose frighteningly effective character owed more to the script, the direction, and make-up than to acting.
Super Reviewer
November 20, 2015
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.
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