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The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford [DVD] [2007]

3.4 out of 5 stars 241 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Mary-Louise Parker, Sam Rockwell, Brooklynn Proulx
  • Directors: Andrew Dominik
  • Format: PAL, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Audio Description: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: 31 Mar. 2008
  • Run Time: 160 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (241 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000Y8G0OS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,542 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Having idolised Jesse James all through his young life, Robert Ford desperately tries to join the outlaw's gang, only to soon find himself getting resentful towards his hero...

From Amazon.co.uk

Of all the movies made about or glancingly involving the 19th-century outlaw Jesse Woodson James, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is the most reflective, most ambitious, most intricately fascinating, and indisputably most beautiful. Based on the novel of the same name by Ron Hansen, it picks up James late in his career, a few hours before his final train robbery, then covers the slow catastrophe of the gang's breakup over the next seven months even as the boss himself settles into an approximation of genteel retirement. But in another sense all of the movie is later than that. The very title assumes the audience's familiarity with James as a figure out of history and legend, and our awareness that he was--will be--murdered in his parlor one quiet afternoon by a back-shooting crony.
The film--only the second to be made by New Zealand–born writer-director Andrew Dominik--reminds us that Dominik's debut film, Chopper, was the cunningly off-kilter portrait of another real-life criminal psychopath who became a kind of rock star to his society. The Jesse James of this telling is no Robin Hood robbing the rich to give to the poor, and that train robbery we witness is punctuated by acts of gratuitous brutality, not gallantry. Nineteen-year-old Bob Ford (Casey Affleck) seeks to join the James gang out of hero worship stoked by the dime novels he secretes under his bed, but his glam hero (Brad Pitt) is a monster who takes private glee in infecting his accomplices with his own paranoia, then murdering them for it. In the careful orchestration of James's final moments, there's even a hint that he takes satisfaction in his own demise. Affleck and Pitt (who co-produced with Ridley Scott, among others) are mesmerising in the title roles, but the movie is enriched by an exceptional supporting cast: Sam Shepard as Jesse's older, more stable brother Frank; Sam Rockwell as Bob Ford's own brother Charlie, whose post-assassination descent into madness is astonishing to behold; Paul Schneider, Garret Dillahunt, and Jeremy Renner as three variously doomed gang members; and Mary-Louise Parker, who as Jesse's wife Zee has few lines yet manages with looks and body language to invoke a well nigh-novelistic back-story for herself. There are also electrifying cameos by James Carville, doing solid actorly work as the governor of Missouri; Ted Levine, as a lawman of antic spirit; and Nick Cave, composer of the film's score (with Warren Ellis) and screenwriter of the Aussie western The Proposition, suddenly towering over a late scene to perform the folk song that set the terms for the book and movie's title.
Still, the real co-star is Roger Deakins, probably the finest cinematographer at work today. The landscapes of the movie (mostly in Alberta and Manitoba) will linger in the memory as long as the distinctive faces, and we seem to feel the sting of its snows on our cheeks. Interior scenes are equally persuasive. Few westerns have conveyed so tangibly the bleakness and austerity of the spaces people of the frontier called home, and sought in vain to warm with human spirit. --Richard T. Jameson

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The moment the soundtrack starts a spell is cast and the viewer is introduced to a "Southern loyalist" and "guerrilla in a civil war that never ended." Thus the viewer is immediately biased in favour of Brad Pitt's Jesse, plus the title attempts to set you against Robert Ford. It's quite amazing that without knowing a thing about Jesse James I always had this vague idea that he was a hero of America, a lion. But this film does not show how the myth was created and how it has endured. It depicts a pressure cooker that was, according to the screenwriter/director, the last months of Jesse's life.

Apart from the dreamy soundtrack it is the very strong acting that really hits you when you watch this. Casey Affleck's Robert Ford is just as masterful as Pitt's interpretation of Jesse James. Affleck is many things in his portrayal, creepy, sweet, pitiful, contemplative, stubborn and of course an obsessive. Pitt's performance too shifts and varies, from wildly sociable, to menacingly silent and confessional. At times Jesse is shown as a psychopath his eyes positively shining with evil or madness and at other times, he is totally charming. You almost don't notice the other supporting characters with Pitt and Affleck dominating affairs so much but they all compliment this artistic drama.

Jesse James is shown as one of the first ever celebrities, a relic of a more ferocious past known well beyond America by Europeans and proudly declaring that all of America holds him in high regard. Robert Ford is the crazed fan who stalks his idol relentlessly, his love and respect turning to jealousy and bitterness.
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I felt in two minds about watching this film , half expecting it to be dolorous ,sombre, dull art-house exercise requiring resolute cinematic stamina . Not for the first time I was completely wrong .The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford is as gorgeous and hypnotic a film as I have ever seen .
The title does of course give way what is going to happen in this film but the real drama comes from the way the narrative explores the relationship between the two men and how circumstances dictate what fates befall both of them.
When we meet them both its September 1881 and they are both preparing to rob a train as part of the infamous James gang . Most of the gang we are informed by the films lyrical voice over ( Hugh Ross)are either dead or in prison but the two remaining James brothers Frank (Sam Shepard) and Jesse(Brad Pitt) are leading the heist. Also part of the gang are the Ford brothers Charley (Sam Rockwell) and Robert (Casey Affleck) Robert has a fan worship thing going on with Jesse and this marks the start of their bond , though not before the more worldly wise Frank says of Bob Ford "I don't know what it is about you, but the more you talk, the more you give me the willies."
It's a perspicacious comment as Bob is a bit creepy and is brilliantly portrayed by Affleck as such - ostensibly a sort of cowboy stalker. Jesse finds him amusing at first then comes to trust him before an all round paranoia and brooding malevolence takes over his character . These two borderline psycho's are well matched in many respects but the film adapted by director Andrew Dominick from the book by Robert Hansen takes its time in getting under the skin of these two characters so we understand implicitly how Ford comes to shooting Jesse James .
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I went into this movie with absolutely no expectations. Almost from the very first scene I was hooked. The reason ... incredible cinematography - truly beautiful - together with an inspired set of acting performances by all involved, especially Casey Affleck but with notable mentions for Sam Rockwell and Brad Pitt. Throw in an incredibly well written script, excellent direction and a moving, gorgeous soundtrack and - for me - you have one of the best films of recent times. It's not a movie that everyone will like, some may find it too ponderous, but personally I thought it was perfect. I don't usually recommend many films, but felt I had to on this occassion.
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Format: DVD
I watched this intelligent version of the story behind the assassination of Jesse James by Robert Ford today and armed with a rudimentary knowledge of James demise watched this movie. First I was extremely impressed with the obvious attention to detail and lavish scenic shots afforded to the production and construction of this film. It is breathtakingly beautiful and haunting with detailed images that stay with you throughout! The acting is wonderful and mesmerising with Brad Pitt showing the audience Jesse James more menacing side balanced with his guilt ridden fatherly instincts. The fact is Robert Ford was both fascinated by James and terrified of his hero and goes some way to adding plausibility to his actions resulting in James death. In fact all the cast are astonishing in this film with performances that will be remembered for years to come. I scoff at comments regarding the length of this film because such a well crafted movie left me wishing that there was more not less and this was in my opinion definitely worth watching in detail. It is also worth noting that this movie has been accepted as one of the most accurate historically and this is clearly a film to buy and keep in your collection of classics.
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