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The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

Director:
Andrew Dominik
COUNTRY
USA
GENRE
Western
NORWEGIAN TITLE
Mordet på Jesse James av den feige Robert Ford
RUNNING TIME
160 minutes
Producer:
Jules Daly
Dede Gardner
Brad Pitt
Ridley Scott
David Valdes
Screenwriter:
Andrew Dominik


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Jesse James Brad Pitt ½
Robert Ford Casey Affleck ½
Zee James Mary-Louise Parker
Charley Ford Sam Rockwell
Wood Hite Jeremy Renner
Frank James Sam Shephard
Ed Miller Garret Dillahunt
Dick Liddil Paul Schneider ½
Frank James Sam Shephard ½

 

Review

The inevatibly interesting relation between Jesse James and Bob Ford, with the fascinating ambiguity and naivety that, by all accounts, harboured in the latter, is the main course in this overlong, conceited film by Andrew Dominik. It is a story that should have been told in half the time, and preferably without the following three aspects: the documentary-emulating voice-over, the completely suspense-killing narrative structure, and Brad Pitt as Jesse James. In order to produce the complexity of the James/Ford gang’s final days, Dominik seems determined to include every parenthesis and sub-clause. And he seemingly justifies it with his deglamorizing portrait of the west. Unfortunately, he seems to confuse the deglamorization of the Jesse James saga with a denarration. It might well be truthful, but it is also loiteringly pragmatic. As a result, we’re not given any juice in exchange for the fun we’re deprived of. Not even a tint of Jesse James' wild side, or any other side of him, for that matter. In Dominik’s version, James is reduced to a Brad Pitt puppet in cowboy boots, leaving Casey Affleck’s brilliant interpretation as Ford as the films most (bordering on only) interesting card.

Copyright © 31.12.2007 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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