Sunday, 8 February 2009

Jesse James was assassinated. Slowly.

So The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford appeared on my television. All 153 minutes of it. Not that I'm complaining. It was excellent, albeit in a slow and ponderous sort of way. Brad Pitt moods about the place, dressed almost entirely in black, while Casey Affleck gives him murderous looks. There's also a lot of sitting in fields of swaying reeds. Which is nice. It's all held together by commentary on celebrity culture and media influence. There's also a smattering of existentialism (I love existentialism, if you talk about it you are a Clever Person).

The pace is almost dreamily slow. The massive, empty vistas that Andrew Dominik points the camera at seem to weigh on the film, with the resonantly bleak soundtrack helping to keep things sombre. The film isn't afraid to throw metaphors around too (shooting frozen lakes, losing shoes), most of which are related to Brad Pitt's glumness. It all amounts to a wonderfully grand, epic sort of thing that is almost as long as its title. It's a shame then that it was so puzzlingly overlooked at 2008's Oscars. Ah well.

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