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Author Topic: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)  (Read 79192 times)
T.H.
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« Reply #135 on: July 23, 2008, 08:00:52 PM »

The last 25 minutes is the payoff for everything that has come before. I take the point of the movie to be that Bob Ford was a nobody until he shot JJ; following that he was briefly a celebrity, then a has-been, then a kind of martyr. His life post assassination follows the arc of a tragic hero. This is interesting because he is also a kind of Judas figure; but since JJ is a kind of Anti-Christ, the question being raised seems to be: Is the betrayer of a betrayer in fact a virtuous man? In any event, I think it's impossible to build sympathy for Ford until late in the story (because prior to that he is a complete nullity), and that is exactly what Dominik succeeds in doing. I'd say it was just enough, and in time.

I grant you all your other objections to the film, but I have to ask, if this film only gets a 7, which films of recent vintage are worthy of an 8, 9, 10? For all its pretensions, there are very few contemporary films that are as visually interesting. Outside of the Frank Miller films, Linklater's A Scanner Darkly, Zodiac, and No Country For Old Men, everything else coming out of Hollywood and Indyland has pretty much the same Standard Industry Look. And one thing more can be said in TAoJJbtCRF's favor: it remains defiantly a film, resistant to all attempts (so far) to capture it on video.

My hang-up isn't that Bob's not likeable, it's that he doesn't even have any redeeming qualities, you can probably make a case that he isn't human. He never changes, not even wavers in the first 120 minuters and I should have originally stated that most of his change in the last 25 mins. is done through narration. I'm not much of a fan of voiceover work when it's constantly used to further the story and/or the arc of a character. To me, those final 25 minutes is akin to reading a very long passage along the lines of John Milner dying in a car accident or Curt Henderson achieving something of great importance. You always make great points Jenkins but I still think that the murder should have occured sooner in the story.

I'm really not much a fan of 00s cinema. There are only a handful of movies that I find to be visually stunning, the standout for me is Jeunet's Amelie. I love bright colors, most contemporary director's have abandoned the bright tones for whatever reasons. No Country For Old Men does the "00s look" the best, much better than TAoJJbtCRF. I haven't seen Zodiac and A Scanner Darkly yet so I can't comment. My favorite young director is PT Anderson and I'm afraid that his best days were spent in the 90s, although it may be a bit premature to make such a bold statement. I wouldn't even know where to begin to make a favorites list, I know that I would probably include the following:

Dog Days (Ulrich Seidl)
The Man Who Wasn't There
Bus 174 (If documentaries qualify)
No Country for Old Men
Amelie
City of God

I do need to see more from this decade though.

« Last Edit: July 23, 2008, 09:11:52 PM by Tuco Harmonica » Logged


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« Reply #136 on: July 23, 2008, 10:01:15 PM »

My hang-up isn't that Bob's not likeable, it's that he doesn't even have any redeeming qualities, you can probably make a case that he isn't human. He never changes, not even wavers in the first 120 minuters and I should have originally stated that most of his change in the last 25 mins. is done through narration. I'm not much of a fan of voiceover work when it's constantly used to further the story and/or the arc of a character.
I usually agree with this, but I allow room for exceptions: what would films noir be without voice over? I just rewatched Double Indemnity and half the plot is spoken by Fred McMurray. It's a way of producing an entertainment that is a kind of hybrid of film and an audio book. It's not the kind of thing I want often, but every once in a while, for a special project, it can be interesting. Dominik's film is such a project.

Okay, you listened to me, here's your reward:


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« Reply #137 on: July 23, 2008, 11:36:35 PM »

I usually agree with this, but I allow room for exceptions: what would films noir be without voice over? I just rewatched Double Indemnity and half the plot is spoken by Fred McMurray. It's a way of producing an entertainment that is a kind of hybrid of film and an audio book. It's not the kind of thing I want often, but every once in a while, for a special project, it can be interesting. Dominik's film is such a project.

I love VO work in noirs, I really don't know why they work so well and how it can add so much to a story and never feel like the screenwriter is taking a shortcut. I guess Billy Wilder or Raymond Chandler help that cause considerably. My issue with narration in films like Goodfellas and TAoJJbtCRF is that they take away from the imagery. In noir, the story moves so fast that the VO seems more natural to the story, we need help assessing the convoluted plot and characters. In larger productions such as these, shouldn't the images be the main source of storytelling? With that said, I certainly understand where your coming from and how you view TAoJJbtCRF as an exception. When I see this again, maybe my score gets bumped to an 8.

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« Reply #138 on: July 24, 2008, 06:12:53 AM »

I would rate TAOJJBTCRF as a 9/10, and perhaps the best film of the decade behind Munich. I loved the cinematography, some of the best I've ever seen, and Brad Pitt was amazing as Jesse James. I did find Casey Affleck a mite underwhelming but he did a good job after the assassination. The screenplay was wonderful, being period without seeming contrived and obnoxious. And as with many other films, I'm compelled to give it points for giving me an actress I ordinarily can't stand - in this case, Mary-Louise Parker - and making her not hittable.

PS: Amelie isn't that good Tuco. Sad

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« Reply #139 on: July 24, 2008, 10:54:46 AM »

Amelie is easily one of the best films I've seen this decade. That doesn't mean that I think it's a masterpiece or anything of the like, it's just indicates how weak this decade has been thus far. It's a beautiful looking movie, and for that alone, makes it worthy imo.

A Few Good Men isn't a good movie Evil

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« Reply #140 on: July 24, 2008, 04:28:32 PM »

That movie came out in the '90s, dude. Quit going off-topic. Roll Eyes

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« Reply #141 on: July 24, 2008, 05:20:43 PM »

...You can't handle the topic.








sorry, for the bad joke.

I completely forgot about Mulholland Drive, my favorite of this decade.

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« Reply #142 on: August 14, 2008, 07:18:54 PM »

After that moment, all gun shots occur with 100% pin point accuracy. This is very bothersome.


Well how often does a gun get fired in this picture besides the scene you pin-pointed?

Jesse kills a few of his own men at, nearly, point-blank range and one would assume that Jesse was a crack shot.

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« Reply #143 on: August 16, 2008, 09:41:36 AM »

I think it's a valid complaint but I understand how some may disagree. There may have been two or three scenes (maybe more?) which involved gunplay after the murder of the Jeff Tweedy look-a-like. In my opinion, that's enough to warrant the complaint and each shot was 100% dead on.

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« Reply #144 on: September 12, 2008, 07:51:23 PM »

I saw it a few months ago, and didnt really care for it. it had good acting I remember and I guess the cinematography was good but it was exhausting to get through the whole thing. way too much talking and just plain weird moments. and not funny weird, more like what the hell is going on here-weird.

to sum it up, boring movie.

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« Reply #145 on: September 14, 2008, 07:08:30 PM »

I saw it a few months ago, and didnt really care for it. it had good acting I remember and I guess the cinematography was good but it was exhausting to get through the whole thing. way too much talking and just plain weird moments. and not funny weird, more like what the hell is going on here-weird.

to sum it up, boring movie.

There was never a boring moment for me.

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« Reply #146 on: October 18, 2008, 12:42:16 AM »

This is definitley my most favorite film of all time. It is beautiful and tear jerking. Simply beautiful.

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« Reply #147 on: October 27, 2008, 03:34:20 PM »

I've finally bought a cheap dvd of this and glad I didn't see it in a cinema. I had trouble following its english  even by reading subs so I can't imagine what the (usually inept) italian translators may have cooked up to render it.
This is  hardly a western. I don't know what to do with westerns like this or Gone with the Wind. Actually I think it shouldn't even have made this section of the forum.  I didn't like all that talk, most of the time repetitive and going nowhere toward explaining what makes these people tick. After watching it I can't say I know more about Jesse and Robert (the true protagonist of the movie) than I knew before watching the movie. It can't hold not even distantly a candle to The Long Riders, still the best among the ones I saw of James movies. Here you don't have action except for the initial (very good) train heist. Then it's all confrontation between James and his ex-pards. A couple are interesting and that is what made me appreciate the movie, but  most of the time you have the impression of marking time. Whole sequences like the James's aunt's seduction could have been cut without consequences). Then I don't like Pitt's acting (he still has to learn his trade: he's young, though) but Affleck is very good, though not helped by the screenplay. The music is very good also, but I can't remember a single note except for the ballad sung by the minstrel which is famous on its own. 7\10

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« Reply #148 on: October 27, 2008, 07:26:26 PM »

Its not a really a Western it is a historical bio pic.

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« Reply #149 on: October 28, 2008, 01:40:36 AM »

Its not a really a Western it is a historical bio pic.

So you agree it shouldn't be in this section?

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