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Another Witness To THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD!! It's Produced By Ridley & Tony Scott!!

Merrick here...
The Man With No Name sent in this look at THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD. It stars Brad Pitt (also credited as a producer), Sam Shepard, Casey Affleck, Sam Rockwell, and Zooey Deschanel. I've been interested in this film for some time & was eagerly anticipating screening reports. Alas, The Man wasn't blown away by this iteration of the film; he felt it was a bit too long. Aussie musician Nick Cave is scoring ASSASSINATION; he recently scripted & scored a bloodbath western from Downunder called THE PROPOSITION -- which got a lot of play here on AICN. The Man references the photography several times in his write-up. It's by Roger Deakins(THE BIG LEBOWSKI, JARHEAD, THE VILLAGE). Nice. ASSASSINATION is directed & scripted by CHOPPER's Andrew Dominik -- based on Ron Hansen’s novel. This review differs a bit from the review Harry posted , mostly in regard to the film's length. But, it's important to remember that there's a way to go before the film's release -- the version The Man saw may be adjusted significantly before the film's 2007 release. To the best of my knowledge, no firm release date has been set for this film here in the States -- although it's slated for Fall 2007 elsewhere in the world...so...read into that what you will. Here's The Man...
Hey Harry, don’t know if you guys care but I saw a test screening of “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.” I was looking forward to the film because I was a big fan of “Chopper” and was eager to see what Andrew Dominik would do with a studio film, plus I am big fan of Brad Pitt. Anyways, from the time the lights went down to when they came back up, two hours and 50 mins had past. And that was the main reason I was disappointed with the film, just too damn long. The first act of the film does a wonderful job introducing us to Jesse James with voice over, abstract shots, and beautiful scenery, something out of a Terence Malick film. We are introduced to Jesse and his gang as they complete one of their last train robberies, a sequence that works very well. Then the film crawls into the second act and keeps crawling for way too long. The dynamic between James and Ford, played wonderfully by Casey Affleck is interesting and sets up some very nice sequences in the film. But the film strays too much from the identity crisis of Ford and the career crisis of James and meanders through beautiful scenery and locations, picking up bit characters and abstract storylines, as we wait for the main story to get back on track. The assassination is a fantastic sequence, two and half hours leading up to it and works very well. The aftermath sort of drags, but it’s such a relief to actually have some story elements working that the minor flaws of the third act are ignored. The film is very much character driven by James and Ford with the last frame of the film a wonderful portrait of a man who has reached the end of his path still searching for identity and meaning behind it all. This film could have been much stronger if more time was focused on Jesse James, showing us more of him in action and the motivation for why he wanted to walk away from it all plus a little more insight to Ford and what shaped him to become the coward trying to be a hero. The film looks amazing and the performances are there, if they shave a good 50 mins off the film I think the pacing would work much better, the story kept moving. I can’t say I recommend the film as it is, but I hope they cut it down before it is released.

GET A LOOK AT THE FILM'S TRAILER HERE!!!


Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 8, 2006, 9:39 p.m. CST

    So one guy likes the legnth,the other doesn't...

    by Bean_

    Hrm. Personally I like longer films, but I know most people don't. I like seeing the whole story, I don't want to see cuts!

  • Nov. 8, 2006, 11:10 p.m. CST

    Props on the long ass title

    by georges garvaren

    It usually signifies a hit or a giant stinky fart. And films with long titles always have lots of great people involved with them as was well, which also tends to lead to a hit or a giant stinky fart. Kinda strange, but I'm going to see this one if for no other reason than Casey Affleck's time to play something besides a sidekick (even though he's playing Jesse James's sidekick. Doh!)

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 4:23 a.m. CST

    CHOPPER was amazing

    by Darth Kong

    That is all.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 5:57 a.m. CST

    YAY...

    by the_shogun_gunslinger

    for a new western!!! theres been such a lack lately...well except for an abundance of crappy indie straight to video westerns...can we resurect Ford and Leone...and ten have them colaborate will Boll on Bloodrayne 2? haha J/k...dont hit me

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 6 a.m. CST

    OMG...

    by the_shogun_gunslinger

    i REALLY need to start proofreading my posts... <P> *Then <P> **With

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 6:08 a.m. CST

    I'm ready to see an engaging, interesting Western.

    by CreasyBear

    It would be a first (unless I half-count Unforgiven).

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 7:02 a.m. CST

    CreasyBear

    by beastie

    Did you see The Proposition?

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 7:45 a.m. CST

    worried about this

    by filmcoyote

    I loved Chopper and Pitt is often good, but this keeps getting delayed, it's got next year's All The King's Men written all over it. Hope I'm wrong.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 7:57 a.m. CST

    Is it possilbe Tony Scott and Michael Bay are . . .

    by Barry Egan

    the same guy? I was thinking this after catching The Island on HBO.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 8:55 a.m. CST

    Is it possible that Tony Scott....

    by Spandau Belly

    and the "random effects" button on Avid are the same guy?

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 9:42 a.m. CST

    To long?

    by godzillasushi

    3 hours is verrrry long. The New World anyone? anyone?

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Love Chopper

    by Cat_Corporation

    A great little film, and Bana is astounding in it. Hopefully this will be great; the length doesn't put me off although it;d be nice to have an ice-cream break like in the days of yore. Just realised how much my title for this post sounds like a porn film though...but I ain't changing it!

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 11:41 a.m. CST

    If this film

    by kwisatzhaderach

    is half as good as a night out at Bojangles we're in for a treat!!!

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 11:52 a.m. CST

    The trailer

    by Vi

    Love the mood set in the trailer. The Shawshank Redemption music is tight.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, noon CST

    "So one guy likes length, the other one doesn't"

    by Cruel_Kingdom

    Sounds like your mother. She always compliments me on my length. I'm just saying...

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Dear CreasyBear:

    by Cruel_Kingdom

    While I heartily disagree with your assessment that there are no engaging westerns--Seven Men from Now, Unforgiven, The Searchers, etc. stand out to me--I really love your moniker. Great name. I love, love, love Man on Fire. So...good choice, my friend. :)

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 12:59 p.m. CST

    Man on Fire

    by Phimseto

    That film disappointed me. It has one of the best 25% of a a film ever, the entire warpath march of Creasy. However, for the rest...well, let's compare it to another film with roughly the same plot - Commando. Man on Fire was like an a hour+ of cloying man/child bonding and then a drawn-out, weepy denouement. Commando accomplished both in its opening minute and closing minute. The remainder of that film was the 25% of Man on Fire. I like the ratio in "Commando" better.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 1:12 p.m. CST

    Not enough action!!!! Let's cut an hour!!!

    by Nate Champion

    Get bent, cocksucker.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 1:29 p.m. CST

    just saw the proposition

    by reckni

    great fucking movie, highly recommended. chopper is rather good too.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 2:10 p.m. CST

    Nuttin better than a dang good western.

    by uberman

    Nuttin. Save maybeye a dang good creature feature. I like THE PROPOSITION for a gritty alt. western and tried to watch that TNT one with Duvall, but that was frankly embarassing-like a bad Hallmark movie written by some people who watched way too many John Wayne westerns. Hoping that this one rocks.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 2:11 p.m. CST

    Reckni...

    by Cat_Corporation

    I agree - great movie. But that exploding head shot - euuucchhh!

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 3:07 p.m. CST

    Sounds like a modern day PAT GARRET AND BILLY THE KID

    by Spacesheik

    Ditch the pretentious title and just call it JESSE JAMES, edit 45 minutes out and you have a hit. Release the longer version on DVD as a directors cut.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 3:24 p.m. CST

    Spacesheik

    by uberman

    Good idea on the cut, but the film is about how and why Ford decieded to kill JJ, not the life and times of JJ. I'd take a shot at calling it just, 'The Coward' or some variation thereof. However, the title is not so much pretencious as it is a stab at the authenticity of the time, as titles like that, as stupid as they sound now, were exactly the kind of titles you found on books and newspapers in the old west, so really its meant to sound like and old west title. But, your average movie goer chick who drags her boyfriend to see a movie with Brad Pitt probably does not know that.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 3:55 p.m. CST

    Warners have taken the film off the director

    by BDuncan

    This film was sposed to come out in September this year, but Warners were unhappy with the film and have taken it off Dominik and are cutting it themselves, hence the delay.

  • Nov. 9, 2006, 11:55 p.m. CST

    first!!

    by chipps

    Nick Cave, andrew dominik, casey afleck. This sounds like it will kick ass. Casey afleck is one of the best non a list actors around, beats the shit out of his brother. Chopper was awsome as was the proposition. But why do those afleck boys always have their mouth open in that wide eyed just got a punch in the face stupid look. Even if they are stupid they don't have to do that. I just hope that at the end of the movie ford dosn't take james off to the hospital. That would be silly

  • Nov. 10, 2006, 6 a.m. CST

    You are right Uberman

    by Spacesheik

    The title is the same kind of language they used in those days - books etc, but alas like you said moviegoers these days would find it off-putting - it wouldnt hurt to get Bruce Broughton to do the score either - hes great at westerns