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Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford

230 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Directors: Andrew Dominik
  • Region: All Regions
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (230 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005W91JO0

Reviews

Based on the 1983 novel by Ron Hansen, THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD captivatingly depicts the final few months of the legendary Jesse James's life. He was 34, and his days of ruthless robbing had dwindled, yet his fearsome reputation continued to swell. With an abundance of nickel-books retelling his brutal gun-slinging adventures, James (portrayed by Brad Pitt, in one his most convincing and moving roles) had become a symbolic hero for many Americans, and a dazzling tabloid icon for the 19th-century media. A particular young man seduced by the wonderment of James, the shifty Robert Ford (a breakthrough performance by Casey Affleck), wormed his way in as a James groupie, in the hopes of snagging a coveted spot alongside his brother Charley (played by the always affable Sam Rockwell) as one of the bandit's cronies. Ford, fiercely insecure and painfully aware that he would never be taken seriously by James (who, ever-plagued by paranoia and scepticism, found Ford's earnest obsession a bit unsettling), grew increasingly angry with his idol, leading to a destructive path that ultimately ended in the anticlimactic death of Jesse James--and brought the treacherous Robert Ford the notoriety he had always wanted. Although this film takes place in the late 1800's, its eerie relevance to modern-day celebrity-obsession scandals is astounding, and adds a fresh scope to what could be viewed as just another cinematic western. Director Andrew Dominick (CHOPPER) furthers the film from its genre by banishing cliched bullet-infested showdown scenes, instead embracing the relationships and interactions of the outlaws, and creates a mood of brooding and contemplation with exceptional camera angles and lighting. His intensely sophisticated approach to filmmaking illustrates the darkest corners of the characters, and insightfully provides a deeper, heartfelt portrayal revealing what the men might have been like behind their masks.

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 52 people found the following review helpful By russell clarke TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 July 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 Sept. 2014
Format: DVD
I think I will just come right out and say it from the off, this is a masterpiece, a truly spell binding, mesmerising tour de force that seeps class from every pore. I have often found myself cringing and turning my back on those who use in film debate the tired old defence of "it's not for everyone", but here I find I have no choice because this picture is purely for those enamoured with poetic beauty and precision film making at its highest. Those in search of an all action gun toting western need not apply, in fact those merely after popcorn fodder to while away an evening viewing should steer well clear. Andrew Dominik's second directorial effort is a character and dialogue driven piece of work, its thematic heart swirling with intelligence and elegiac beauty.

The story centrers around the final days of notorious outlaw Jesse James, and how one of his young disciples came to murder him on April 3rd 1882. Using Ron Hansen's novel as its source, it also fills in the gaps as to what became of the murderer Robert Ford as regards the subsequent aftermath of killing the infamous Jesse James. The film is dealing with issues all to prevalent in modern day society, we are witnessing perhaps the first instance of celebrity status gone berserker, we see how the press glamorise the nasty piece of work that was Jesse James, turning him into some sort of quintessential noble outlaw. We observe a stalking menace yearning to be like his hero, a young and impressionable fellow who's hurtling towards infamy completely oblivious of the pitfalls and irony of it all.

Structually the film is perfect, and to me the film defines the old saying of art on the silver screen.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. A. Woodward on 21 April 2008
Format: DVD
It may be the longest title in film history but what a breath of fresh air in this day and age of overblown popcorn movies. Nothing wrong with popcorn movies but it's nice to get your teeth into something with a bit more bite and this has it in spades. Brad Pitt is perfectly cast as Jesse James but it's Casey Affleck, Ben's brother, as the assassin Robert Ford who steals the show. His performance is brilliantly understated and his journey from naïve kid to cold-blooded killer is a joy to behold. Why he didn't win a supporting actor Oscar for this is beyond me. However, all the performances are uniformly excellent, particularly Sam Rockwell as Charly Ford, Bob's brother.

Director Andrew Dominick is to be commended on producing such a leisurely and assured movie as this. Even though not a great deal happens in almost two and half hours the time flashes by because the story and the way it is told is so mesmerising. The attention to detail and the degree of authenticity is some of the best I've ever seen in a Western and the cinematography brilliantly captures the expanses of the plains. Nick Cave's score is also perfectly suited to the piece.

A true `masterpiece'.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Chrislovesbuffy on 1 Mar. 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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