Watch: In Praise of ‘The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford’

Watch: In Praise of ‘The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford’

At the beginning of his most recent ‘Unloved’ installment for RogerEbert.com, this one on Andrew Dominik’s ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," Scout Tafoya asks, somewhat justly, what this particular film is doing in a series that has, up to now, focused on misfit movies, films that have gotten little recognition—or not the recognition they deserved, for reasons buried in the insides of the films themselves: odd story idea, bad casting, arbitrarily idiosyncratic cinematography. This one’s different, starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck, as it does, and being based on a very famous moment in Western American history—the killing of Jesse James. Nevertheless, Tafoya cites critical slights to the movie, along with a mediocre box office history, and then supplies a moving defense of it, based on its meaning to him, as a young man turning 26, watching a story onscreen that is as much about growing up and coming into manhood as it is about the murder of an outlaw. Strewn with gorgeous clips from Dominik’s cinematically arresting film, this seems like Tafoya’s best ‘Unloved’ entry yet, on a piece of work which deserves as many viewings as you’d like to give it.

One thought on “Watch: In Praise of ‘The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford’”

  1. Amazing piece, I just rediscovered this film not too long ago. It is sad that it was under appreciated in it’s time. There is something to be seen of a film that can explore a great detail into the human soul and psyche. I think in this technological critical co-dependent age we live in, many "moviegoers" or the general public find really massive works in film, television and music difficult to swallow and are ever so quick to reject and criticize anything that is not gift wrapped in a package or picture that gives them the entirety quicker than a finger snap. Robert Ford’s journey is a story in this film that should be seen. It is such a sad thing especially in 2007 where other amazing films like "There Will Be Blood" and "No Country For Old Men" long dramatic pieces that were deservedly praised whilst this film as well as gems like "Zodiac" were very much swept under the rug. From the beautiful haunting soundtrack to the last frame on Robert Ford, I found this film to be quite a master period piece, in a prelude to a time where great character developed films are few and far in between.

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