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500 Five-Star: The Assassination of Jesse James… (2007)

October 16, 2011


Finally, 38 films later, we reach the final A in the countdown.  The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, I have to admit, was one of the hardest films to watch in those 38.  That’s not because it was a bad film.  It was a very, very good film, in fact.  The problem is, the film is pretty much as longwinded as its title, and when you have an 11 month old baby running riot around your home, it’s very difficult to find the time and energy to watch a slow moving 150 minute film.  It doesn’t matter how good a film is; when it’s as slow-paced as this, it takes a lot of concentration and hard work to appreciate it properly.  Honestly, I’m not sure I managed it.  I could certainly tell it was an exceedingly well-made and well-performed story.  The bleak cinematography is absolutely beautiful, and Casey Affleck is outstanding as Robert Ford.  More than a traditional western, it’s an exploration of the psyche of one of America’s most famous historical figures, and it’s full of the sort of intelligent musings that so rarely feature in Hollywood pictures.  Yet the fact remains that it’s unneccesarily long, unneccesarily meandering, and as a result it’s really only a film for those with plenty of spare time and a high level of stamina.



An outstanding, but flawed production.  Maybe at another time in my life, I could have given it a maximum mark, but right now I find I have to disagree with Empire and stop at…


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