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  The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Starring: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard, Mary Louise-Parker

Directed by: Andrew Dominik

Produced by: Brad Pitt, Ridley Scott, Jules Daly, Dede Gardener, David Valdes

Written by: Andrew Dominik

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures


     The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, like its title, is beautiful in its sprawling state but, also like its title, could have greatly benefited from being chopped in half. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with the movie running for nearly three hours—its cinematography, score, and performances always engage—but the endless time-limit allows writer/director Andrew Dominik to crowd the screen with an unholy amount of erroneous excess. By the time The Assassination of Jesse James was over, I couldn’t remember half of the characters that had been introduced throughout its duration due to their sheer insignificance. Dominik takes a great amount of liberty in toying with unnecessary subplots which, rather than strengthening the power of his picture, weaken its core substantially. The only story-thread that really matters in the film is that which follows the cat-and-mouse game played by the title characters. (These, by the way, are brilliantly invented by a career-best Brad Pitt and an Oscar-worthy Casey Affleck.) The remainder of The Assassination of Jesse James exists exclusively as fatty excess, never unpleasant but only useful to Dominik when it allows him to indulge in his movie’s beautiful visuals.


-Danny Baldwin, Bucket Reviews

Review Published on: 10.17.2007

Screened on: 10.16.2007 at the Edwards San Marcos 18 in San Marcos, CA.


The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is rated R and runs 160 minutes.

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