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3.9 out of 5 stars
Ain't Them Bodies Saints [DVD] [2013]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 February 2015
This is a slow burner of a film, shot mainly in dark or lowly lit scenes, with ever present but unobtrusive music, it plays out like a southern gothic or murder ballad. While this is not to everyone's taste, it is very effective in conjuring up the close atmosphere of the small town in which the main characters live.
Bob (Casey Affleck) is serving 25 years for shooting a police officer. Ruth (Rooney Mara) actually fired the shot which nearly killed the officer, but as they were both trying to escape the law and Ruth is pregnant with his child, he is happy to take the blame. He vows to escape one day and return to her. He does escape, when their daughter Sylvie is approaching her fourth birthday. Any suspense as such in the film, revolves around whether he will get back to them, get caught or killed. There is also the question of whether Ruth is still waiting for him or is being drawn towards the officer she shot (he is unaware that she was really responsible).
This might sound cliched but involves nuanced performances from all the characters which completely drew me in. It was an unexpected gem.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I watched this film on sky, and if you love your slow burners then this is for you, and i must say the direction was top notch and I really enjoyed it, the film is a love story of a man who has been sent to prison, and all he wants to do is get back to his daughter and the love of his life. I could go on about the rest of the film but you have to see it for yourself.

Casey Affleck(Good will Hunting) is brilliant in this film, I must admit I wasn't his biggest fan and hopefully he has changed my mind, but my hat goes off to Rooney Mara(HER), she is a great actress, but the one thing I loved about this film, and that was the soundtrack, it was just beautiful.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon 8 September 2013
I was drawn by positive reviews to this Texas backwoods tale of Bob and Ruth, two lovers who get caught up in a shoot-out with the local law officers. Bob takes the rap and goes to jail, leaving Ruth to bear and bring up their child, swearing to wait for him. This has all the potential for a drama of doomed love, but despite good performances from Rooney Mara as Ruth, Patrick Wheeler as the soulful sheriff waiting in the wings for Ruth's favours and Keith Carradine as the storekeeper who brought up the young couple "gone to the bad" I was left frustrated and disappointed by the film.

What one professional reviewer has described as "elliptical storytelling and dreamy magic-hour light" struck me as a very confusing presentation of key details and an underlit, wavering filming technique which often makes it well nigh impossible to see what is going on. Too often, an important scene is flashed onto the screen for a fraction of a second, leaving the viewer unsure what has happened - who shot whom or why. Worst of all, Case Affleck's drawl renders Bob incomprehensible half the time. Although clearly handsome, he comes across as monumentally stupid and dull. In order to make us care about Bob and Ruth, the writer/director needed to develop their characters, relationships and complex motives for their crime.

Although the recent "Beyond the Pines" was flawed, it succeeded better in this type of theme.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 17 August 2014
Like some of the the other featured reviewers, I was fooled by the good reviews given to this film, by no less than Mark Kermode on Radio 5 Live, and Roger Ebert, who compared the direction of David Lowery to that of master filmmaker Terrence Malick.

If you're looking for a cure for insomnia, then this fits the bill. The dialogue is stilted and unconvincing, with long gaps, and the brooding, endless soundtrack that is meant to give the film big Texas atmosphere just makes the film seem even slower than it already is.

Casy Affleck has played a few of these Southern dim-witted loser types in his time ('Lonesome Jim', 'The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford', and 'The Killer Inside Me'), but it's really wearing thin now. To say that his character in this film (Bob Muldoon) is not the sharpest knife in the drawer would be to slander the gentle goodness of dull knives. He's just an idiot undeserving of our sympathy.

All I can say on the positive side is that the Texas sky looks impressive, and that Keith Carradine is good as Skerritt (in the same sort of kindly character he played in the TV version of 'Fargo').

Avoid.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 June 2014
Wonderfully shot and it reminded me of a Malick film and wondefully acted. Mara is a truly fantastic new and up and coming actress. And Affleck is always a great watch. Its slow and moody and well worth a watch
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2014
a great storyline as to what can happen in love even thought he was a bad person he tried to change
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2015
I just loved this film.....beautifully shot....well-acted....and loved the sound-track too.....
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 16 September 2013
What is it about the Deep South that's so evocative in cinema? Maybe it's the timelessness. Ain't Them Bodies Saints could be set at any time during the past forty years. The sun seems forever rising or setting in this region, and filmmakers can't help but point their lens in its direction, silhouetting their beautiful actors. Terrence Malick has a lot to answer for.

It's hard not to think of Malick's first film, Badlands, when watching this. The story concerns a couple of young Texan criminals, painfully in love. When Ruth (Rooney Mara) shoots policeman Patrick (Ben Foster), her lover Bob (Casey Affleck) takes the blame and goes to jail. Bob promises he'll come for Ruth, and duly escapes incarceration. Meanwhile, Patrick is making moves on Ruth, oblivious to her guilt. All of this is under the wise, watchful eye of Skerritt, played wonderfully by Keith Carradine. As Bob closes in on Ruth, the cops and the gangsters close in on Bob.

There are times during Ain't Them Bodies Saints when writer-director David Lowery's style and technique comes across as mimicry, of Malick and also of Jeff Nichols, as well as countless American movies from the 1970s. Thankfully, he also has an interesting story to tell, and it is one presented with rich textures. At times the film flows like a visual poem, with Bradford Young's evocative cinematography melding perfectly with Daniel Hart's stirring music. The effect is of something exquisitely handmade.

Affleck's mumbled delivery here exudes danger; he's mythologising himself in the same way he once mythologised Jesse James. Mara is sentimentalised as the angelic mother, but Lowery is wise enough to suggest that this comely vulnerability is an act also - a sophisticated defence against hard men secretly seeking softness.

Perhaps the film veers too closely at times toward stylish vagueness and too far from the broken heart of the story. But there is no denying this is a serious, authored work of art.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Everyone concerned with this film tries very hard, but the end result just doesn't live up to the many reviews detailing its excellence. To compare the film with 'Badlands' is both unfounded and unfair to the former. The story is simple and a variant on a theme that has been filmed many times before, but here the director, in trying to make the story more interesting, only makes things needlessly complicated and at times simply disjointed. Keith Carradine and Patrick Wheeler are both excellent and Rooney Mara is appealing and vulnerable but, by comparison with these three, Casey Afflick's acting seems rather unnatural and his very mannered speech soon becomes simply annoying. In one of the extra features the director gives his reason for the film's unconnected title and I can't help thinking that perhaps his somewhat strangely unrelated reasoning has echoes in the making of the film itself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 October 2014
One of my absolute favourites. For me, a perfect film.
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