The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford


The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Infobox Film
name = The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford


image_size =
caption =
director = Andrew Dominik
producer = Ridley Scott
Jules Daly
Brad Pitt
Dede Gardner
David Valdes
writer = Screenplay:
Andrew Dominik
Novel:
Ron Hansen
narrator = Hugh Ross
starring = Brad Pitt
Casey Affleck
Mary-Louise Parker
Sam Shepard
Sam Rockwell
music = Nick Cave
Warren Ellis
cinematography = Roger Deakins
editing = Dylan Tichenor
Michael Kahn
distributor = Warner Bros.
released = United States:
September 21, 2007
United Kingdom:
November 30, 2007
runtime = 160 min.
country = USA
language = English
budget = $30 millioncite news | author= | url=http://www.calgarysun.com/cgi-bin/publish.cgi?p=103065&x=articles&s=showbiz | title=Two Sams join Brad Pitt’s movie cast | publisher=Calgary Sun | date=2005-08-31 | accessdate=2007-05-09 ]
gross =
website =
amg_id = 1:335202
imdb_id = 0443680

"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" is a 2007 Western drama film adapted from Ron Hansen's 1983 novel of the same name. The film is directed by Andrew Dominik, with Brad Pitt portraying Jesse James and Casey Affleck as Robert Ford. Filming took place in Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg. Initially intended for a 2006 release, the film was postponed and re-edited for a September 21, 2007 release. While the film contains representations of historical figures, it notably dramatizes the relationship between James and Ford.

Plot

Introduction, Train Robbery (Early September, 1881)

The beginning of the film features the narrator giving a detailed speech introducing many facts and legends about American Old West outlaw Jesse James (Brad Pitt). This film tries to debunk as many of the myths commonly attributed to James as possible, and focuses its attention on the flaws of celebrity worship and the tendency for facts to be distorted in the 19th century. Aside from Jesse, the film also tells the story of Robert Ford (Casey Affleck), a seemingly insecure young man who has grown up idolizing Jesse James and is often seen as a coward by those around him. Bob seeks out his hero in the middle of a forest in Blue Cut, Missouri where the James gang is staging a train robbery. Bob makes petty attempts to join the gang with the help of his brother Charley Ford (Sam Rockwell), who has been a recruit for a while now. Jesse allows Bob to take part in the train robbery to try to prove himself, but Jesse's brother Frank James (Sam Shepard) sees right through him, saying that Bob hasn't the ingredient to become a member in their gang. The robbery is a success, but ends up being the last robbery committed by the James brothers. Afterward, Frank decides to retire from crime and settle east in Baltimore, leaving his brother to lead the gang by himself. Jesse does not mind Bob's presence at first, and begins to have Bob tag along where ever he goes. Gradually, Bob forms a complex love/hate relationship with Jesse, still admiring him to the point of obsession, but also becoming resentful and somewhat fearful due to Jesse's bullying nature. Jesse begins to acknowledge Bob's awkwardness and unusual fanaticism, and sends him away as a result.

Feud between Dick and Wood, Kentucky (September — October, 1881)

The gang members have gone their separate ways after their last train robbery.From this point on, Bob still wants to get involved in the gang as he starts to familiarize himself with the other recruits, who often stay at the farmhouse of Martha Bolton (Alison Elliott), the elder sister of the Ford siblings. Jesse's cousin Wood Hite (Jeremy Renner) also stays there, and often uses Jesse's status to justify his bossiness towards Bob, which Bob takes a great disliking to. Wood apparently has a love interest in Martha, but Dick Liddil (Paul Schneider) frequently gets in his way. Dick, who is perhaps the most highly educated member in the gang, has a reputation for being a womanizer. During Dick and Wood's stay in the latter's home in Kentucky, Dick creates a grudge against Wood by defiling his stepmother Sarah Hite (Kailin See). When Wood discovers their illicit love affair, he forces Dick into a gunfight. Both fail to kill each other, and Dick is ordered to leave at once, so he returns to his home in Kansas City.

Conspiracy (November, 1881)

In exchange for a partnership, one day Dick reveals to Bob that he is in cahoots with Jim Cummins, an elusive gang member conspiring to capture Jesse for a bounty. Jim Cummins' character is never actually seen onscreen, but he is referenced to multiple times throughout the film to add to the effect of Jesse's paranoia. Jesse likes to take to calling in on his old gang, stopping by their homes from one to another, so he decides to pay a visit to Ed Miller (Garret Dillahunt), another former gang member who is seen as thick-headed and shy and very poor with words. Information about Jim Cummins' plot accidentally slips out of Ed's mouth. Thus, Jesse lures Ed deep into the woods and kills him for being blatantly dishonest during their conversation earlier, and quickly goes on a hunt for Jim. Jesse stops by Kansas City to bring Dick along for the hunt, and the two head to Bill Ford's farm, where Jim usually stays. Bill is married to Jim's sister, and is Bob and Charley's paternal uncle. At the farm, Dick and Jesse are greeted by Albert Ford, Bill's 14-year-old son. Although Albert does not know where Jim is staying, Jesse brings the child to a barn nearby and violently beats him, further revealing his troubled and destructive mind-state. Dick stops Jesse in an attempt to prevent further harm to the boy. Confused about his actions, Jesse weeps, and rides away on his horse to regather himself. Dick decides to travel back to Martha's farm, and in doing so conveniently apologizes to the Fords for Jesse.

The Shootout, Dinner Scene (December, 1881)

Wood returns from Kentucky to the Bolton farmhouse in a wintery morning. While Bob and Charley are still asleep with Dick upstairs, Wood retells his shooting scrape with Dick to Martha and Wilbur (another Ford brother). Bob is awakened by their conversation downstairs, so he quietly wakes Dick up and informs him of Wood's arrival. At the same time, Wood coincidentally finds out that Dick has been staying here. Thus, Wood runs up the staircase to the closed bedroom door, and both he and Dick prepare themselves for the imminent gun battle. After a brief moment of silence, Wood kicks the door open, and the battle commences. Charley jumps out of a window to dodge the gunfire, spraining his ankle, and Robert cowers away in his bed. Wood and Dick continue shooting at each other. Wood fires a shot through Dick's thigh, and Dick returns a shot hitting Wood in his right forearm, knocking his pistol away. Dick raises his Navy Colt, only to notice he has run out of ammunition. Wood takes his time to grab his pistol from the floor. He switches his pistol to his left hand, steps forward, and takes careful aim at Dick, who is immobilized by the wound in his leg. It is then that Bob draws his pistol and fires a bullet at Wood's skull, killing him, before Wood can pull the trigger. They attempt to bury Wood's body in a ditch and form a plan to conceal this event from Jesse. Jesse then re-emerges one night to pay a visit to the Fords. As Jesse eats dinner with them, Bob behaves rather anxiously in his presence, and Jesse notices this immediately, so he forces Bob to tell a story. Bob then reluctantly recites a long list of similarities he has with Jesse. Jesse is somewhat disturbed by this, and in return tells a story about a man he once killed for betraying him, explaining how Bob slightly reminds him of that man. Bob, now humiliated, throws a fit and miserably leaves the room, while Jesse and Charley plan a trip to St. Joseph, Missouri, where Jesse currently resides with his family. At St. Joseph, Jesse learns of Wood's disappearance.

Talking to the Authorities (January — March, 1882)

Bob's respect for Jesse begins to diminish, and his hatred towards his hero grows further and further, as he realizes the nickel books about Jesse he had read during his childhood have little resemblance to the Jesse he now knows. Consequently, Bob talks with Kansas City government official Henry Craig (Michael Parks), saying he has information regarding Jesse James' whereabouts. To prove his allegiance with the James Gang, Bob urges Craig to arrest Dick Liddil, who has been staying at the Bolton farmhouse while his leg healed. Days after Dick's arrest, Bob attends a party held by the Governor of Missouri, Thomas T. Crittenden (James Carville), who wanted to celebrate Henry Craig's efforts to finally rid the county of the James Gang. To Bob's surprise, Dick Liddil has been released from jail and is even dining with the governor. It is revealed that Liddil isn't who the authorities are looking for—they are really after Jesse James. So in order to save himself, Dick disclosed everything he knew about the James Gang's robberies. Afterward, Bob is brought into a meeting with the governor, and subsequently strikes up a deal with him. Bob is given ten days to capture or assassinate Jesse James for a bounty of $10,000, and is given further instructions by Craig's partner Sheriff James Timberlake (Ted Levine). Meanwhile, on the way back from St. Joseph, a wearisome Jesse talks to Charley about suicide. Charley then successfully convinces Jesse to take Bob in under his wing.

Impending Doom (March 24 — April 2, 1882)

By now, Robert and Charley Ford are the only active members in the gang other than Jesse. He keeps a close eye on the brothers, prohibiting them from going anywhere without him. The brothers move in with Jesse to his home in St. Joseph, where they stay with Jesse's wife Zee (Mary-Louise Parker) and their two children. One night in the living room, Jesse invites the Fords to take part in the robbery of the Platte City bank. He re-enacts the way he'll cut the cashier's throat, and demonstrates this by holding a knife to Bob's neck. Jesse then gives a violent monologue about the way he'll execute the cashier and pulls away leaving Bob shaken and visibly in tears. Even though Jesse treats this jokingly at first, laughing in hysterics, he stops his laughter abruptly just as to embarrass Bob even further. Jesse walks out of the room while the Fords look at each other in concern, overwhelmed with the fear of being killed by him. It has become evident that Jesse has succumbed to derangement—his behavior becoming more erratic and unpredictable with every passing day. From time to time, Jesse even "prophesizes" Bob's betrayal. Jesse is never out of reach from his guns, and has proven this on more than one occasion. Even when he appears to be asleep, he can be awaken at the slightest sounds. Given these circumstances, Bob decides killing him would be the safest solution. But even as Jesse appears inhuman in the way he acts, he speaks to Bob about how his behavior is almost becoming a problem for himself, and that he often feels helpless and suicidal. As a way to apologize for his actions, Jesse gives Bob a brand new pistol on April Fools' Day.

The Assassination (April 3, 1882)

On the day of the assassination, both Ford boys wrestle with the task they have been given, especially Charley, who has long considered Jesse as one of his closest friends. Jesse comes home after a walk with his son, and heads to the kitchen for breakfast, throwing the newspaper onto the living room couch. Moments later, while everybody else is preparing to eat, Robert walks pass the living room towards the kitchen when he suddenly notices the paper on the couch with the headline "The Arrest and Confession of Dick Liddil". Without a second thought, Bob slips the portion of the newspaper under a shawl on the couch, obscuring it from vision, then sits himself down at the kitchen table after strapping on his gun. Immediately, Jesse gets up and grabs the paper from the couch, and has no trouble finding the missing pages mysteriously hidden under the shawl. He sits himself back down again to stir his coffee while he reads, inevitably learning of Dick's confession. Jesse glares at the Ford brothers, growing increasingly suspicious of them for never reporting this matter to him. By now, it seems Jesse has no doubt in his mind that they are there to betray him. The three head into the living room individually in preparation for the trip to Platte City. Bob is the first to get up, and he retreats to the living room rocking chair, panic-stricken. Charley follows Bob into the living room to strap on his gun. Jesse walks into the room last, but instead of scolding the Fords, he looks out of the window, withdrawn, and hollow. The Fords prepare for the worst, but it appears Jesse is withholding his wrath due to the presence of his wife and children. After some silent contemplation, seemingly knowing his time has come and accepting it, Jesse takes off his gun belt and lays it on the couch, as a final gesture to try to prove to himself that he truly trusts them, and that whatever is about to happen to him is only a figment of his imagination. For the first time in his life, Bob sees Jesse gunless. Jesse turns around, and blankly stares at the dusty picture of a horse above the mantle, then in a fluid motion climbs up a chair to dust it, even though the picture is easily reachable standing. Unfortunately for Jesse, what he hopes to be his imagination is about to become a reality, as Robert Ford takes advantage of this opportunity to makes his move. Jesse watches in the reflection of the picture as Bob draws his gun and shoots him in the back of the head. The sound of Jesse's body plummeting to the floor radiates throughout the whole house. Zee rushes to the living room, and mournfully wails at the sight of her husband's lifeless body. The Fords escape the house to wire the governor about the news.

Aftermath, Creede (1883 — 1892)

After the assassination, Robert Ford becomes a celebrity and ends up in a theater show in Manhattan, re-enacting the assassination night after night with his brother playing Jesse James. It seems, even to Charley, that Bob shows no remorse for killing Jesse, who would always show pride in what he's done, denying all allegations of cowardice. In contrast, Charley becomes tormented by the assassination, questioning why he did what he did. His cheerfulness that so well identified his humanity is not noticeable in his voice anymore, and his stage performance only reminds him of the man they've shamefully betrayed. Overwhelmed with despair, he tries writing letters to Mrs. Zee James, asking for forgiveness, but would never actually send them in fear of causing more pain to the grieving widow. Having lost all of his dignity and ailing from tuberculosis, Charley eventually kills himself in his apartment.

After Charley's suicide, something begins to strike Bob. Instead of Jesse being remembered as a criminal and a murderer, he is now idealized as a Robin Hood-like hero. Ford on the other hand is openly shunned by the public and is branded a cowardly traitor. At times of anger, Bob dreams of visiting the families of Jesse James' victims, hoping to remind himself that what he did was not in vain, but for the benefit of the people. In a constant struggle to liberate himself from his ever-growing guilt, Bob gives in to alcoholism by frequenting local taverns, only to make a fool of himself.

Ten years have passed since Jesse's assassination. Bob now works as a saloonkeeper in the small mining town of Creede, Colorado, still unsure about his own destiny. He becomes romantically involved with a beautiful singer/prostitute named Dorothy Evans (Zooey Deschanel), who would have long conversations with Bob in hopes of providing comfort to him. In the closing moments of the film, Bob is sought out and murdered by a man named Edward O'Kelley, who has developed a strong hatred towards Bob over the years. At the same time, the narrator gives a memorable epilogue to end the film, which appears as if it were an obituary Bob had written for himself:

"He was ashamed of his persiflage, his boasting, his pretensions of courage and ruthlessness; he was sorry about his cold-bloodedness, his dispassion, his inability to express what he now believed was the case—that he truly regretted killing Jesse, that he missed the man as much as anybody, and wished his murder hadn't been necessary. Even as he circulated his saloon, he knew that the smiles disappeared when he passed by. He received so many menacing letters that he could read them without any reaction except curiosity. He kept to his apartment all day, flipping over playing cards, looking at his destiny in every King and Jack. Edward O'Kelley came up from Bachelor at one P.M. on the 8th. He had no grand scheme; no strategy; no agreement with higher authorities; nothing beyond a vague longing for glory, and a generalized wish for revenge against Robert Ford. Edward O'Kelley would be ordered to serve a life sentence in the Colorado Penitentiary for second degree murder. Over seven thousand signatures would eventually be gathered on a petition asking for O'Kelley's release, and in 1902, Governor James B. Orman would pardon the man. There would be no eulogies for Bob; no photographs of his body would be sold in sundries stores; no people would crowd the streets in the rain to see his funeral cortege; no biographies would be written about him; no children named after him; no one would ever pay twenty-five cents to stand in the rooms he grew up in. The shotgun would ignite, and Ella Mae would scream, but Robert Ford would only lay on the floor and look at the ceiling, the light going out of his eyes, before he could find the right words."

Main Cast

Gang
*Brad Pitt as Jesse James
*Casey Affleck as Robert Ford
*Sam Rockwell as Charley Ford
*Paul Schneider as Dick Liddil
*Jeremy Renner as Wood Hite
*Sam Shepard as Frank James
*Garret Dillahunt as Ed MillerWomen
*Mary-Louise Parker as Zee James
*Alison Elliott as Martha Bolton
*Kailin See as Sarah Hite
*Zooey Deschanel as Dorothy EvansAuthorities
*James Carville as Governor Thomas T. Crittenden
*Michael Parks as Henry Craig
*Ted Levine as Sheriff James TimberlakeOther
*Hugh Ross as Narrator

Production

In March 2004, Warner Bros. and Plan B Entertainment acquired feature film rights to Hansen's 1983 novel "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford". Andrew Dominik was hired to direct and write the film adaptation, with Pitt being eyed to portray Jesse James. [cite news |author=Michael Fleming |url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117901859.html?categoryid=1236&cs=1 |title=WB aims for Pitt with 'James' |publisher=Variety |date=2004-03-17 |accessdate=2007-05-09] The role of Ford eventually was between Affleck and Shia LaBeouf; Affleck was cast because it was felt that LaBeouf was too young. Bill Clinton's presidential campaign strategist James Carville was selected to play the Governor of Missouri. [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0443680/trivia] By January 2005, Pitt was cast in the role, [cite news |author=Michael Fleming |url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117916861.html?categoryid=13&cs=1 |title=Brad motors to WB oater |publisher=Variety |date=2005-01-24 |accessdate=2007-05-09] and filming began on August 29, 2005 in Calgary.cite news |author=Louis B. Hobson |url=http://www.calgarysun.com/cgi-bin/publish.cgi?p=98384&x=articles&s=showbiz |title=Brad Pitt's new wife |publisher=Calgary Sun |date=2005-08-24 |accessdate=2007-05-09] Filming also took place in other parts of Alberta, including McKinnon Flats, Heritage Park, the Fairmont Palliser Hotel, the Kananaskis area, several private ranchescite news |author=Kevin Williamson |url=http://www.calgarysun.com/cgi-bin/publish.cgi?p=181998&x=articles&s=showbiz |title=Pitt's wild west showdown |publisher=Calgary Sun |date=2007-05-06 |accessdate=2007-05-09] and the historical Fort Edmonton Park.cite news |author=Jim Rudolph |url=http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/August2005/30/c4090.html |title=Fort Edmonton Park key location for Brad Pitt western |publisher=CorporateCommunications |date=2005-08-30 |accessdate=2007-08-10] The historical town of Creede, Colorado was recreated at a cost of $1 million near Goat Creek in Alberta.cite news |author=Louis B. Hobson |url=http://www.calgarysun.com/cgi-bin/publish.cgi?p=114574&x=articles&s=showbiz |title=Brad for business |publisher=Calgary Sun |date=2005-12-02 |accessdate=2007-06-26] Filming also took place in Winnipeg in the city's historic Exchange District; the Burton Cummings Theatre (formerly known as The Walker Theatre) and the Pantages Playhouse Theatre,cite news |author=Louis B. Hobson |url=http://www.calgarysun.com/cgi-bin/publish.cgi?p=103929&x=articles&s=showbiz |title=Brad’s an outlaw |publisher=Calgary Sun |date=2005-09-07 |accessdate=2007-05-09] and concluded in December 2005."The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" was initially edited by director Dominik to be "a dark, contemplative examination of fame and infamy," Fact|date=October 2007 similar to the style of director Terrence Malick. The studio opposed Dominik's approach, preferring less contemplation and more action. One version of the film had a running time of more than three hours. Pitt and Ridley Scott, producers of the film, and editors Dylan Tichenor (who left the production early to cut "There Will Be Blood", and was replaced with editor Curtiss Clayton, who ultimately finished the production) and Michael Kahn (who was brought in for several weeks as the studio's "go to" editor), collaborated to assemble and test different versions, which did not receive strong scores from test audiences. Despite the negative response, the audiences considered the performances by Pitt and Affleck to be some of their careers' best.cite news |author=John Horn |url=http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/movies/la-et-pitt2may02,1,7857762.story?coll=la-headlines-entnews |title=Brad Pitt's 'Jesse James' comes under fire |publisher=Los Angeles Times |date=2007-05-02 |accessdate=2007-05-17] Brad Pitt had it written into his contract that the studio could not change the name of the film.fact|date=June 2008

Release

"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" was originally slated for a September 15, 2006 release. [cite news |author=Stax |url=http://movies.ign.com/articles/710/710606p1.html |title=Superman's New Date |publisher=IGN |date=2006-05-30 |accessdate=2007-05-09 ] The release date was postponed to February 2007 at first, [cite news |author=Kevin Williamson |url=http://www.calgarysun.com/cgi-bin/publish.cgi?p=160886&x=articles&s=showbiz |title=Worth the wait |publisher=Calgary Sun |date=2006-11-05 |accessdate=2007-05-09] but ultimately set for a September 21, 2007 release, [cite news |author=Kevin Williamson |url=http://www.calgarysun.com/cgi-bin/publish.cgi?p=181998&x=articles&s=showbiz |title=Pitt’s wild west showdown |publisher=Calgary Sun |date=2007-05-06 |accessdate=2007-05-09] almost two years after filming was completed.

The film opened in limited release on September 21, 2007, in 5 theaters and grossed $147,812 in its opening weekend, an average of $29,256 per theater.cite web |url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=weekend&id=jessejames.htm |title=The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) - Weekend Box Office |accessdate=2007-09-28 |publisher=Box Office Mojo] The film has a total gross of less than $4 million.

Warner Home Video released the film on DVD on February 5, 2008 [cite web|first= David|last= McCutcheon|title= Jesse James Assassinated on DVD|url= http://uk.dvd.ign.com/articles/838/838521p1.html|work= IGN.com|date= 2007-11-29|accessdate= 2008-01-21] in the US, and on March 31 in the UK.

Reception

Critical reaction

As of December 7, 2007 on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a 75 percent fresh rating from 142 reviews and 58 percent from 31 the Cream of the Crop . [cite web |url=http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/10005911-assassination_of_jesse_james_by_the_coward_robert_ford/ |title=The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - Rotten Tomatoes |accessdate=2008-02-03 |publisher=Rotten Tomatoes] On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 68 out of 100, based on 31 reviews. [cite web |url=http://www.metacritic.com/film/titles/assasinationofjessejames |title=Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The (2007): Reviews |accessdate=2007-09-21 |publisher=Metacritic]

Brian Tallerico of UGO gave the film an "A" and said that it is "the best western since "Unforgiven"." Tallerico also said, "Stunning visuals, award-worthy performances, and a script that takes incredibly rewarding risks, "Jesse James" is a masterpiece and one of the best films of the year." [cite web |url=http://www.ugo.com/ugo/html/article/?id=17856&sectionId=2 |title=Assassination of Jesse James Review |UGO.com |accessdate=2007-09-27 |author=Brian Tallerico |publisher=UGO] Kurt Loder of MTV said, "If I were inclined to wheel out clichés like 'Oscar-worthy', I'd certainly wheel them out in support of this movie, on several counts." [cite web |url=http://www.mtv.com/movies/news/articles/1570231/20070920/story.jhtml |title='Jesse James': Best Western, By Kurt Loder |accessdate=2007-09-27 |author=Kurt Loder |date=2007-09-20 |publisher=MTV] Richard Roeper on the television show "Ebert & Roeper" said, "If you love classic and stylish mood Westerns such as "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" and "The Long Riders", this is your film." [cite web |url=http://bventertainment.go.com/tv/buenavista/ebertandroeper/index2.html?sec=6&subsec=coward+robert+ford |title=Review on Ebert & Roeper |accessdate=2007-09-27 |author=Richard Roeper |publisher=Ebert & Roeper] "The Star-Ledger" film critic Stephen Whitty gave the film four stars and called it an "epic film that's part literary treatise, part mournful ballad, and completely a portrait of our world, as seen in a distant mirror." Whitty also said that the film is "far superior" and "truer to its own world" than "". [cite web |url=http://www.nj.com/movies/ledger/index.ssf?/base/entertainment-1/1190351344108100.xml&coll=1&thispage=1 |title=A 'Jesse' for our times |accessdate=2007-09-27 |author=Stephen Whitty |date=2007-09-21 |publisher=The Star-Ledger] Josh Rosenblatt of "The Austin Chronicle" gave the film 3½ stars and said the film "grabs on to many of the classic tropes of the Western — the meandering passage of time, the imposing landscapes, the abiding loneliness, the casual violence — and sets about mapping their furthest edges." [cite web |url=http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Calendar/Film?Film=oid%3A539229 |title=The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford |accessdate=2007-09-27 |author=Josh Rosenblatt |date=2007-09-21 |publisher=The Austin Chronicle]

Film critic Emanuel Levy gave the film an "A" and wrote, "Alongside Joel and Ethan Coen's "No Country for Old Men", which is a Western in disguise, or rather a modern Western, "Assassination of Jesse James" is the second masterpiece of the season." Levy also wrote, "Like "Bonnie & Clyde", Dominik's seminal Western is a brilliant, poetic saga of America's legendary criminal as well as meditative deconstruction of our culture's most persistent issues: link of crime and fame, myths of heroism and obsession with celebrity." [cite web|url=http://www.emanuellevy.com/article.php?articleID=6936 |title=Film Review - Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford |accessdate=2007-09-27 |author=Emanuel Levy |publisher=EmanuelLevy.com] Lewis Beale of "Film Journal International" said "Impeccably shot, cast and directed, this is a truly impressive film from sophomore writer-director Andrew Dominik...but suffers from an unfortunate case of elephantiasis." Beale said Affleck is "outstanding in a breakout performance" and said Pitt is "scary and charismatic." Beale wrote, "The director seems so in love with his languorous pacing, he’s incapable of cutting the five or ten seconds in any number of scenes that could have given the film a more manageable running time. In the scheme of things, however, this amounts to little more than a quibble." Beale said that ultimately, the film is "a fascinating, literary-based work that succeeds as both art and genre film." [cite web |url=http://www.filmjournal.com/filmjournal/reviews/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003639817 |title=THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD |accessdate=2007-09-27 |author=Lewis Beale |publisher=Film Journal International]

British critic Mark Kermode named the film as his best of 2007 in his end-of-year review on Simon Mayo's BBC radio programme.

Many critics opined that the film is too long. Kirk Honeycutt of "The Hollywood Reporter" said that the relationship between Pitt and Affleck "gets smothered in pointlessly long takes, repetitive scenes, grim Western landscapes and mumbled, heavily accented dialogue." [cite web|url=http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/film/reviews/article_display.jsp?&rid=9707 |title=Bottom Line: Pretension and vacuity sabotage a potentially terrific tale of celebrityhood |accessdate=2007-09-27 |author=Kirk Honeycutt |date=2007-08-31 |publisher=The Hollywood Reporter] "Los Angeles Daily News" critic Bob Strauss gave the film 2½ stars out of 4 and said, "To put it most bluntly, the thing is just too long and too slow." Strauss also said, "Every element of this Western is beautifully rendered. So why is it a chore to sit through?" [cite web |url=http://www.la.com/movies/9895472.html |title=Movies Outlaw comes to life - but oh, so slowly |accessdate=2007-09-27 |author=Bob Strauss |date=2007-09-21 |publisher=Los Angeles Daily News] Pam Grady of Reel.com gave the film 2 stars out of 4 and said, "The movie is merely a long, empty exercise in style." [cite web|url=http://www.reel.com/movie.asp?MID=145706&buy=open&Tab=reviews&CID=13#tabs |title=The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) |accessdate=2007-09-27 |author=Pam Grady |publisher=Reel.com] Stephanie Zacharek of Salon.com said that the film "represents a breakthrough in the moviegoing experience. It may be the first time we've been asked to watch a book on tape."cite web |url=http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/10005911-assassination_of_jesse_james_by_the_coward_robert_ford/?beg=0&int=41&creamcrop_limit=19&page=all |title=The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - Rotten Tomatoes |accessdate=2007-09-27 |publisher=Rotten Tomatoes]

Jesse James' descendants have effusively praised the film, specifically singling out Affleck and Pitt for their performances. [cite web |url=http://blog.spout.com/2007/09/24/brad-pitt-canonized-by-james-family/ |title=Brad Pitt Canonized By James Family - SpoutBlog |accessdate=2007-09-24 |publisher=Spout.com]

Top ten lists

The film appeared on many critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2007. [cite web|url=http://www.metacritic.com/film/awards/2007/toptens.shtml |title=Metacritic: 2007 Film Critic Top Ten Lists |accessdate=2008-02-25 |publisher=Metacritic]

*1st - Mark Kermode, "BBC Radio 5 Live"
*1st - Peter Vonder Haar, "Film Threat"
*1st - Ray Bennett, "The Hollywood Reporter"
*1st - Matt Cale, "Ruthless Reviews" [cite web|url=http://www.ruthlessreviews.com/reviews.cfm/id/1444/page/cale_s____best_films_of_____.html |title=CALE'S 10 BEST FILMS OF 2007 |accessdate=2008-02-29 |publisher=Ruthless Reviews]
*2nd - Dennis Harvey, "Variety"
*3rd - Claudia Puig, "USA Today"
*3rd - Mick LaSalle, "San Francisco Chronicle"
*4th - Tom Charity, "CNN" [cite web|url=http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/Movies/12/28/best.2007|title=Review: The best (and worst) films of 2007 |accessdate=2007-12-29 |publisher=CNN]
*4th - Jack Mathews, "New York Daily News"
*4th - Scott Tobias, "The A.V. Club"
*5th - "Empire" magazine
*5th - Keith Phipps, "The A.V. Club"
*5th - Tasha Robinson, "The A.V. Club"
*6th - Scott Foundas, "LA Weekly"
*6th - Jonathan Rosenbaum, "Chicago Reader"
*9th - Lisa Schwarzbaum, "Entertainment Weekly"
*9th - Nick Schager, "Slant Magazine"
*9th - Michael Phillips, "Chicago Tribune"
*10th - J. Hoberman, "The Village Voice"

Awards and nominations

"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" was identified by the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures as one of the top 10 films of 2007. The board also named Affleck as Best Supporting Actor in the film. [cite news | author= | url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22116897/ | title=Board names ‘No Country’ best film of ’07 | publisher=MSNBC | date=2007-12-05 | accessdate=2007-12-05 ] The San Francisco Film Critics Circle named "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" as the Best Picture of 2007. The circle also awarded Affleck as best supporting actor for the film. Affleck was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for the 65th Golden Globe Awards.cite web|url=http://www.goldenglobes.org/news/id/81 |title=HOLLYWOOD FOREIGN PRESS ASSOCIATION 2008 GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2007 |accessdate=2007-12-17 |date=2007-12-13 |publisher=goldenglobes.org]

The film received two Academy Award nominations for the 80th Academy Awards. Affleck was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Roger Deakins was nominated for Best Cinematography.cite web|url=http://www.oscars.org/80academyawards/nominees/index.html |title=Nominees - 80th Annual Academy Awards |accessdate=2008-01-22 |publisher=Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences]

References

External links

* [http://jessejamesmovie.warnerbros.com/ Official site and trailer]
* [http://www.ericjames.org/Reviews/AssassinationofJesseJames/index.html Official website for the Family of Jesse James with the James Family's Own Movie Review]
*imdb title|id=0443680|title=The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
*rotten-tomatoes|id=10005911-assassination_of_jesse_james_by_the_coward_robert_ford|title=The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
*metacritic film|id=assasinationofjessejames|title=The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
*mojo title|id=jessejames|title=The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
*amg movie|id=1:335202|title=The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford


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  • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel: Die Ermordung des Jesse James durch den Feigling Robert Ford Originaltitel: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Produktionsland: USA Erscheinungsjahr: 2007 Länge: 160 Minuten Originalsprache …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford — L Assassinat de Jesse James par le lâche Robert Ford L’Assassinat de Jesse James par le lâche Robert Ford Le hors la loi Robert Ford (1860 1892), posant avec le revolver avec lequel il aurait assassiné Jesse James. Titre original …   Wikipédia en Français

  • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (novel) — The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is a 1983 novel based on the assassination of American Wild West bandit Jesse James at the hands of Robert Ford. It was written by the American author Ron Hansen.In 2006, the novel was… …   Wikipedia

  • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (soundtrack) — Infobox Album Name = The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Type = soundtrack Artist = Nick Cave and Warren Ellis Released = Start date|2007 Recorded = Genre = Length = Label = Mute Producer = Reviews = *Allmusic Rating|4|5… …   Wikipedia

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  • Die Ermordung des Jesse James durch den Feigling Robert Ford — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel Die Ermordung des Jesse James durch den Feigling Robert Ford Originaltitel The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • L'Assasinat de Jesse James par le lâche Robert Ford — L Assassinat de Jesse James par le lâche Robert Ford L’Assassinat de Jesse James par le lâche Robert Ford Le hors la loi Robert Ford (1860 1892), posant avec le revolver avec lequel il aurait assassiné Jesse James. Titre original …   Wikipédia en Français

  • L'Assassinat De Jesse James Par Le Lâche Robert Ford — L’Assassinat de Jesse James par le lâche Robert Ford Le hors la loi Robert Ford (1860 1892), posant avec le revolver avec lequel il aurait assassiné Jesse James. Titre original …   Wikipédia en Français

  • L'Assassinat de Jesse James par le lache Robert Ford — L Assassinat de Jesse James par le lâche Robert Ford L’Assassinat de Jesse James par le lâche Robert Ford Le hors la loi Robert Ford (1860 1892), posant avec le revolver avec lequel il aurait assassiné Jesse James. Titre original …   Wikipédia en Français


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