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Hey folks, Harry here with an early early look at THE ASSASINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD! This has been an exciting film to look forward to, and at this date - this is a very early cut of the film. When last I looked, Warners hadn't locked down a release date next year for the film. However, it seems to be coming along exactly as one would hope. Read along, from the director of CHOPPER comes...

The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Long time reader of Aint It Cool this is the first time I have felt compelled to turn in a review of a sneak preview. I am going to keep this review as spoiler free as possible. So last night I got to catch a special sneak preview of, “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.” This is a new western starring Brad Pitt and is directed by Andrew Dominik who also directed the wonderful, “Chopper.” I went into this film with almost no knowledge of the Jesse James gang or the assassination of the legend. This film surprised me. The opening alone will grab you, with Roger Deakins amazing cinematography, Nick Caves entrancing score and a narration that is strongly reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon.” This is not your average western. This film is very dark, with Brad Pitt playing his darkest character since, “Kalifornia.” Brad Pitt doesn’t use a lot of words in his performance, it’s all looks and internal turmoil, he is truly mesmerizing in this performance, showing a more mature actor then we have seen before. He is matched perfectly by Casey Affleck who is finally used to his full potential as Robert Ford. Casey Affleck plays Ford as a very vulnerable, fragile young man with a thirst for recognition. Hopefully this performance might break Casey out of his brother’s shadow. The rest of the cast is superb with a funny and odd performance by Sam Rockwell. The cinematography is excellent. Roger Deakins turns in some of the best work of his career. He brings a dream like quality to the images that gives the film a fable like quality. It’s this quality that separates this film from other westerns. It has more in common with Sam Peckinpah’s underrated, “Pat Garret and Billy the Kid.” It has to do with living up to ones own myth and also how far a person will go to be famous. But I see one serious problem with this film. A major studio made it. This isn’t a film for everyone. This isn’t, “Tombstone,” it’s not an action packed western. It’s a very emotional film. The action that does happen is quick and realistic much like a Sergio Leone film. This is a film for my father, a person who grew up on westerns and loves them. It has more in common with art house films and this might make it a tough sale for the studio, which will probably try to sell it as another, “Legends of the Fall.” I’m not saying that,“Legends,” is a bad film; it’s just that this is a much darker film. Another problem is that the version I saw the other night was easily three hours in length. That can make any studio nervous and I’m afraid the studio will start cutting the film up in hopes of getting a bigger audience. This film needs the three hours, much like Sergio Leone’s westerns (which were notoriously edited by the studios) this film is about anticipation and scope. I wouldn’t be surprised if they cut this film up but I beg the studio not to. Basically I hope everyone gets to see this film in its current cut. This is the kind of film that will probably be passed over in theatres but will get a lot of recondition over time and will be seen as the truly great film it is. You can call me Bronson.

BOING!!! I really need to see this. Sounds like the movie I hoped they were making! - Harry

Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 8, 2006, 6:52 p.m. CST

    Yee Haw

    by monorail77

    another for the mono, methinks!

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 6:53 p.m. CST


    by Gwai Lo

    i like the title, so i've been keeping an eye on this one for a year or so

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 6:56 p.m. CST

    When will people learn...

    by Tesarta to punctuate properly? I mean, damn.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 7 p.m. CST


    by RogersPop75

    Good deal. I like my westerns dark and hard. Bring on the brooding, murdering bastards! Pitt is a freakin' great actor, and I can't wait for this movie. Sometimes I wonder if it is TOO SOON.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 7:04 p.m. CST

    Can't fucking wait

    by John-Locke

    Definitely one of my most anticipated movies, this review has just made me want to see it a whole lot more.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 7:08 p.m. CST


    by Nachokoolaid

    Too much fertilizer on this one.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 7:08 p.m. CST


    by MikeHoncho

    Dark westerns are the best. This sounds great. Hopefully there is some action though...

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 7:12 p.m. CST

    Warners is probably shitting bricks right now.

    by Nate Champion

    Who gives a fuck if anyone likes it, if it's good enough to compete for awards or anything pedantic enough like that? It's not gonna make $200 mil, so they're gonna dump it and nobody will notice. This will be lesson 1 in how to bury an interesting film because you're a fucking bonehead suit who doesn't know a movie from his boyfriend's asshole.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 7:28 p.m. CST



    Seriously... Why finance a script that's nearly 180 pages if you're going to end up butchering the film... Since WB greenlighted that script for production, knowing full we'll it would be 3hours, they should stick with hit.... I hate when this kinda stuff happens... Especially with films like Kingdom of Heaven Directors Cut.. DON'T GREENLIGHT A 3HR SCRIPT IF YOU'RE GOING TO BUTCHER IT! Ok I'm done venting :)

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 7:34 p.m. CST


    by chrth

    The family of Jesse James will be traumatized. <p> I apologize.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 7:52 p.m. CST

    I don't think Robert Redford is a coward.

    by SkeletonParty

    I think it is mean to say he is.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 7:55 p.m. CST

    got the flyer, didn't make it though

    by reckni

    now i'm sad i missed it. bitter.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 8:12 p.m. CST

    well the studio cut Kingdom of Heaven...

    by Deadwood Dan

    ...and it sucked! Then the Director's Cut ruled, so at least if this flick does get cut brutally, we'll have a director's cut eventually...I'd rather see it first as it's supposed to be seen though. Is that so much to ask?

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 8:12 p.m. CST


    by videomercenary

    I saw the same cut last night. I really want this film to work, but a lot of tightening up needs to happen. For instance, at one point a narrator described what we were seeing, WTF? Is this the History Channel all of the sudden?

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 8:24 p.m. CST


    by d3funct

    I was hoping this would be out by the end of the year. My most anticipated movie right now.

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 8:53 p.m. CST


    by fannypacoderus


  • Nov. 8, 2006, 8:53 p.m. CST


    by ephor

    seriously... another erection reference Harry? Can't wait for this though. Love Chopper, easily my favourite Australian movie of the last decade, and this would be Dominik's 1st films since... why's it taken 6 years?

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 9:03 p.m. CST

    Sounds great!

    by Bean_

    I've been itching for a great western and this sounds like it. Dark and indie!? Sounds great!

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 9:12 p.m. CST

    Saw an Extended Preview of this...

    by Atomica

    And it hooked me in the first few seconds. I'm only a fan of Solid Westerns, like Tombstone, Wyatt Earp, etc. And this one looks dark, gritty and engaging. Looking forward to it...

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 11:36 p.m. CST

    I take back everything

    by thebearovingian

    In honor of AICN, I withhold further comment.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 3:23 a.m. CST

    Is it...

    by Abhimanyu

    ...dare I say it, elegiac? I appreciate keeping things spoiler free, and I also think Deakins is near-God - but do you think the length of the movie is the only thing that will be cut? I would be rather impressed if the title remained the same in the hands of whatever studio-marketing hacks make these decisions.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 12:22 p.m. CST

    Westerns are probably THE greatest film genre

    by Mattapooh

    When done right. Somebody REALLY needs to "update" westerns for modern audiences, but without going for the Michael Bay-style editing. If someone were to give us a flick like John Woo's "The Killer" done in a western (albeit less over-the-top), it'd be pretty damn awesome.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 2:01 p.m. CST

    Chooper Reed here, how the fuck are ya!

    by snakecharmer

    Nice! Loved Chooper. Pitt always works with new, interesting directors. Can't wait to see this. There is nothing like a good western.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 2:35 p.m. CST

    The Proposition

    by jonathantaylorthomas

    This thematically and stylistically kinda sounds like The Proposition with Guy Pearce, which was quite a good movie. Anyone check that out? I think it might be out on DVD now.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 11:23 p.m. CST

    Extremely Early Look? I've Been Hearing About This Film

    by The Ender

    For well over a year. What's the hold up?

  • Nov. 10, 2006, 12:27 a.m. CST

    Relaaaaax people, dang.

    by Jaka

    lol. It's Brad Pitt! WB knew what they were doing. Do we even know what the budget is? I mean really, studios make most of their money on DVDs these days anyway. So sure they'll edit it, that's what they do. It's the easiest way to release two versions on DVD. But this jumping all over shit that hasn't happened yet is kind of funny. I have just a bit of faith that with Brad Pitt and a smaller (no insult intended) director involved that this is what they were expecting. Again, anybody know the budget?

  • May 31, 2007, 1:02 a.m. CST

    Better Late Than Never: I'm Sold!

    by Britney Spears Tears

    Can't wait!