"The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford"
A few nights ago, a friend of mine gave me a copy of Andrew Dominik’s film, “The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford.” I was a big fan of Andrew Dominik’s first film, “Chopper,” back when it was released in 2000 and couldn’t wait to see his sophomore effort. Production stills, showing Brad Pitt as Jesse James, only added to my desire. Then, when I heard that Pitt won the Best Actor award for his portrayal at the Venice Film Festival, I was officially dying to see this film.
Unfortunately, I spent most of the awards season in New Orleans where, to my knowledge, the film wasn’t even released. In fact, it seemed as if the only person I knew who’d seen it was a member of the Academy who had access to a screener. He said the film was great. As time went on, though, I heard rumors that the film was troubled. Apparently, there was a disagreement between Dominik, the producers, and the studio over the length of the film. Dominik’s first cut was four hours and the studio forced him to trim it down to 160 minutes. Perhaps it was this disagreement that led the studio to dump the film into a mere handful of theaters, with virtually no marketing push behind it. Perhaps we’ll never know the real reason.
In any case, I’m here to tell you and to spread the word that this was, easily, one of my favorite films of last year. I found its oblique approach to the Western genre completely refreshing, as it was completely true to itself… it was full of interesting choices… and, at times, it even conjured up fond memories of Terrence Malick. If you want to be “entertained,” watch “3:10 to Yuma.” But, if you want to see something special, see “The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford.” Personally, I think that it is films like these that, as artists, it is our duty to support. I’ve included a link to the trailer below. Enjoy.
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