The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

You can tell from the opening shots and voiceover that ‘Assassination’ is going to be a good film. There are no credits and very little to introduce anyone before the James gang embark on their spectacularly shot last train robbery. From the outset the cinematography is breathtaking and as they block the track and get masked up the mist rolls and the music, second outing for Nick Cave and Warren Ellis after last years ‘The Proposition’, swirls in grand crescendos and fits the haunting night time scene. Brad Pitt is quite the Jesse James flitting from brooding intelligence to moody madness and Casey Affleck’s portrayal of Robert Ford from bumbling simpleton to calculated killer and back again is almost as good. The story of Roberts obsession with James is akin to a modern day stalker and had the internet been invented then I’m sure Robert would have started many facebook groups dedicated to his childhood hero, it veers from sinister to just plain creepy. This then brings out the whys, why did James let the obviously obsessed Ford into his gang and inner circle? Was it a case of keep your enemies close or did he in fact love the adoration that ultimately would be his downfall? It posses more questions than it answers and in this respect gives the viewer plenty to think about during and after the film. My only criticism of the movie would have to be the length at two hours and thirty nine minutes it’s quite the stamina test and I don’t see why this couldn’t be trimmed a little and still be as good. But that said strong performances all round, amazing scenery; a twisted tale rooted in truth and a great script makes ‘Assassination’ one of the best films of the year. A must see.

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