Movie Review: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

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Score: 6.7/10

This movie has got a great cast, but it’s a slow movie that doesn’t really have any greater point or themes. I think it’s based on real life events, though how much liberty is taken with those events is up in the air. It’s all right, I’m just not sure what the film makers were trying to achieve, if anything.

The movie is about the American outlaw Jesse James, who was killed in the late 1800’s. It seems like the film tries to be historically accurate, but I know nothing about the subject matter so who knows.

The film is a slow burn. It primarily focuses on Rob Ford and his attempt to deceive and assassinate Jesse James. James is portrayed as an extremely dangerous gunslinger, never apart from his guns and always prepared to kill someone. There’s no real action scenes, you just assume that he’s extremely dangerous and that he is so good, that anyone who tried to attack him would lose. That’s where most of the tension comes from. Anytime James enters the room, you’re left wondering if everyone is going to leave the room alive. Again, this is a slow movie with subtle tension being the most excitement you’re going to get.

Jesse James is played by Brad Pitt. Casey Affleck plays Robert Ford. Jeremy Renner and a bunch of other relatively well known actors fill out the cast. They’re all decent given the material. The issue is that the material simply doesn’t give them a lot to work with. There are not a lot of lines so the actors work with what they got and try to inject as much nuance into their performances as possible. You also have to put up with every actor putting on their best southern or western accent.

Overall, the film is at best interesting, at worst boring. I was mostly bored, but enjoyed a few somewhat tense parts where I was guessing whether James was going to kill someone or not.

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