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January 19th, 2008

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09:20 pm - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
I've seen both 'Jesse James' and 'No Country' now. I just came back from Jesse James. The Arts Centre was packed but I think the film wasn't what a lot of the audience expected; many of them were quite restless. One word really describes what this film is like - 'lyrical' - it's the text book case of a dreamy, lyrical film. I've heard this director compared to Terrence Malick, and if you like that type of poetic filmography then I think you'll like this. The pace is slow, and it takes you through everything, rough and smooth. I relished it, when I wasn't distracted by the idiot boys in the audience chowing down and lighting up their mobile phones to check that five more minutes had gone.

There have been a number of lyrical/philosophical westerns lately, and I think they are hard to get right; I've been quite scornful of most of them (Seraphim Falls - worst example). This one does not invite scorn. It is most expert and accomplished. There is a depth and complexity to underpin its reach. The performances are good across the board, in particular Casey Afleck as Robert Ford, Brad Pitt deceptively layered, and Sam Rockwell never more heartbreaking.

(3 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:January 19th, 2008 11:59 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I can understand why the idiot boys were restless: Westerns are "supposed" to be action/adventure, not lyrical/philosophical. I find it kind of encouraging that lyrical/philosophical Westerns exist (whether or not I would enjoy watching them) simply because it means that people are creatively subverting the genre expectations and making something that's more than the sum of its parts.
[User Picture]
Date:January 20th, 2008 08:37 am (UTC)
A second vote here for genre subversion.

I read a comment on imdb last night saying perhaps the studio had the option to sell this film as what it was - hence getting a smaller audience who would come knowing what to expect and love it - or sell it as an adventure film, getting a much large audience which would include a lot of pissed off people. I suppose it's understandable they chose the latter (clue: $ £).

(That ten things meme proved harder than it looked BTW).
[User Picture]
Date:January 20th, 2008 10:41 am (UTC)
The thing that puzzles me about this is: don't people actually check out films before they go to see them?

That ten things meme proved harder than it looked BTW

Don't worry, it took me a while to do mine.

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