Thursday, January 22, 2009
John and I don't always agree about films, but we agree often enough that when he earnestly presses a film on me, and then follows up with delivery of a loaner DVD, then I know it's likely worth watching. So, even though my taste in James brothers runs more to the William and Henry end of the spectrum than to the Frank and Jesse, I watched The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
I'm glad I did. John was correct to note its elegance and peculiar mysterious intensity--it reminds me of Terrence Malick at the top of his game. I don't think Brad Pitt has ever been better, and though I've enjoyed him in other films this performance is his closest attempt yet to that art called acting. Typically Pitt is an amalgam of carefully cultivated mannerisms-as Jesse James he finds new depth and comes across as less artificial.
Don't expect an action-packed shoot-'em-up. This is plodding, moody melodrama with a nice dose of irony. Right up my alley.
One complaint: the voice-over. I didn't mind it at all, really, but have to wonder if the fine performances by the actors wouldn't already express what the voice-over reiterates? An experiment for a future viewing: turn that off and see?