Wednesday 26th January 2022

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (15)
Directed by: Andrew Dominik
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

This is a landmark moment folks. I believe we've just seen the release of the first of the contenders for next year's Oscars. After all, what could be more Oscar-worthy than a slow-paced, long film based on the death of a historical figure? And not just any historical figure, a controversial American legend?

Casey Affleck's in with a great chance of winning Best Supporting Actor
Casey Affleck's in with a great chance of winning Best Supporting Actor

Well, the story of Jesse James is certainly an interesting one, and he's been portrayed in at least seventeen films previously as a result. This one, however, focuses entirely on James at the end of his life, in the days before he is betrayed and killed by an ambitious young member of his own gang.

James (Brad Pitt) is undoubtedly ruthless in this film, and is clearly unable to trust anyone around him at all. It seems as though he is very weary of living in a world where he can't let his guard down for a single second. Robert Ford (Casey Affleck), however, is a young and foolish new recruit who has idolised James since childhood. Through an unfortunate turn of events, though, Ford agrees to assassinate James in return for a $10,000 reward.

And I'm afraid that's all there is to this film. Now, I'm normally the first in line to see a film that focuses more on its characters than on some generic, hackneyed storyline, but even so, this film is exceptionally long and slow-paced.

The acting is superb, the characters are very well-drawn and the cinematography is wonderful too. However, for my money this movie is simply too long and too slow to hold the audience's interest. It comes across as being a bit too worthy and trying too hard to please the award crowd. Nevertheless, it is well–crafted, interesting and fairly thought-provoking. So, if you think you can stomach three hours of one guy trying to decide if he can and should shoot another guy, then get down to the cinema and check this one out!

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Length: 160 minutes
Certificate: 15
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 30th November 2007

Top Five Rating: 60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0% (60.0%)
User Rating: 82.0%82.0%82.0%82.0%82.0%82.0%82.0%82.0%82.0%82.0% (82.0%)

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