Sunday, June 27, 2010
A Review Of The Movie That May Have The Longest Title In The History of Cinema
As a film, "The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford" is as long and unfocused as its title. But that doesn't mean it's not worth the effort to seek out. It's a flawed movie with faults, not the least of which is a narrative that leaves the viewer asking - on numerous occasions - "what is he doing?", or "why is that guy trying to kill that guy?"
Having said that, I'd still rather watch a movie like this than the mindless pablum that Hollywood produces the vast majority of the time. Fortunately, the story of Jesse James and Robert Ford is familiar enough that, even at those moments when you're scratching your head wondering what the hell is going on, you can - more or less - keep track of the story. And while story is pretty damn important to the success of any movie, there's also the acting and a whole lot of other things to take into consideration. And on that score, the movie is a notable success. Brad Pitt, Sam Shepard, Jeremy Renner, Sam Rockwell, Garrett Dillahunt, Casey Affleck - all turn in strong performances, and are fun to watch even during those moments when you're not exactly sure what's going on.
And while we're on the subject of acting, let's talk about Brad Pitt for a moment. Pitt (who I once detested, but that changed after "Se7en") is one of the best known movie stars in the world, but just take a look at the films he's been in during the past decade:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Burn After Reading
The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
Whatever you think of all those movies, you have to admit that's a pretty impressive resume.
But back to the movie...is it a success? Yes and no. But in the end, I hope that movies like this continue to be made. Because if they're not, all we're going to have to watch are mindless Michael Bay-type productions.