|Directed by:||Andrew Dominik|
|Written by:||Ron Hansen|
|Cast:||Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard, Mary Louise Parker|
The Good: A very fine acted, directed and beautifully shot film that is great to look at, intriguing and has a great build up to the demise of not only its main character, but the outlaws and friends he ran with. What I dug so much about this film is that we know the ending, but the ride is so interesting, with many of Jamesí friends and family all on the run and questioning each other, which left me very much so engaged at the development and tension among characters. Affleck plays a character who is likable but also childish and annoying at times, while other outlaws have different traits, such as the brother who is quiet and sort of a suck up, and the friend Dick, who is a womanizer and is secretive. The point being that every character has something different going on, and each of their personalities either mesh or donít mesh with that of Jamesí, who is a completely different character altogether, one who is hard to figure out, has major mood swings, is violent to some but loving to others, and is all around a sort of spacey mystery. This creates some great, tension-packed moments between them all at some point, with dialogue that is memorable and shots that are unique. Besides my fondness for the characters and the emphasis that is put on studying them, the film is beautiful to look at, the pace is slow but never loses steam, the actors all are given a chance to shine, and the ending, even though obvious, still carries some extra punches after the initial conclusion, leaving an ending that ties very much so into our reality now, and how we cherish and hate the nature of our celebrities. A very interesting, well shot and beautiful film.
The Bad: The movie was very slow moving, which actually didnít bother me at all, but the combination of that and little to no action sort of left me ancy at times, considering that we didnít get to see too much of who Jesse James really was in terms of a killer, robber, and a criminal. We sort of just come into the story knowing he was all of those things, without much of a look into the supposedly hard-nosed, gritty robberies and killings that left him with that reputation. That aspect of the story I thought could have provided more depth and understanding of the man, and gave the audience something to help them get through some of the slower moments. The narration in the film also helped at times, but other times was way too obvious and unnecessary, and overall didnít make the story any more clear or revealing.
The Bottom Line: A sort of western for those who like characters, dialogue and a little mystery, and not necessarily for those who like shoot-um-ups. The film is great to look at, stylish at times, very well acted and fascinating to watch unfold, you just have to have patience and an extra 150 minutes to kill. If this sounds like your cup of tea, you should have no problems enjoying this movie. Action fans should look elsewhere.