The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, written and directed by Andrew Dominik, based on the novel by Ron Hansen
8 out of 10
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
This is a remarkable film.
With two Academy Awards nominations, including for Best Performance by an Actor in a supporting role, the movie was acclaimed.
It has 25 prizes and a total of 65 nominations, with a nod from the Golden Globes, for the same Casey Affleck.
He was excellent in role of the Coward Robert Ford and is the winner in the Leading Actor category at the latest Academy Awards.
Brad Pitt portrays a suspicious, haunted, violent, perhaps depressed Jesse James that asks at one moment:
- Charley, did you ever consider suicide?
He was talking to Charley Ford, Robert or Bob’s brother, on an ice covered lake, on which they were advancing cautiously.
Jesse James expressed a rather unfavorable opinion of charley, whom he considered to be rather dumb.
Nevertheless, charley feels better to be around with than his brother, Robert that used to have a fascination with Jesse James.
He has a box in which he keeps newspaper cuttings and photographs mentioning the band led by the outlaw.
At one point we are told by the interesting voice over – Hugh Ross is the narrator and he does an excellent work-that:
- The two most famous people in America are Jesse James and Mark Twain
- People on the street are more likely to identify Jesse James than anyone else- if I am not mistaken…
In the first part of the film, we witness a train robbery, involving the outlaw, his brother Frank James portrayed by the always outstanding Sam Shepard, Charley ford, Wood Hite- a cousin of the leader, played by Jeremy Renner.
After this incident, the gang separates and there are frictions and animosities between various members.
Dick Liddil and Wood Hite visit the latter’s father, married to a woman that seems to be fifty years if not more, his junior.
This is an occasion for some laughs and tense, erotic, awkward situations, starting at the table, where the old man has to use a strange device placed in his ear in order to try and hear what is said around him.
Wood Hite warns his companion Dick not to get any ideas concerning the young woman and says out loud-
She knew what she was getting into, for he was in the same state when she married him, so careful with what you plan.
Before going to bed, Dick talks to the young wife and they are clearly attracted to each other, beyond the kind words they exchange.
The two young men share the same room, with Dick Liddil getting ever more restless in bed and pretending he has to use the privy…
Well, he actually does want that, but it is to get together with the sensual, inviting young host, who is sitting inside.
She invites the young man to join her, for she does not mind him and this was potty humor, from an awkward scene.
The two young men are fighting over this and the disregard proved for the warning and Wood Hite even tries to murder his former mate.
It makes sense for Jesse James to kill a few people along the way, manifest himself violently and help Robert Ford become ever more upset with and even hateful towards his former idol that likes to push him around.
This is an unusual drama that even if it takes place in the “West” could not be called a western, with psychological insight, beautiful scenery and great performances all around.