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Hey folks, Harry here with an early early look at THE ASSASINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD! This has been an exciting film to look forward to, and at this date - this is a very early cut of the film. When last I looked, Warners hadn't locked down a release date next year for the film. However, it seems to be coming along exactly as one would hope. Read along, from the director of CHOPPER comes...

The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Long time reader of Aint It Cool this is the first time I have felt compelled to turn in a review of a sneak preview. I am going to keep this review as spoiler free as possible. So last night I got to catch a special sneak preview of, “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.” This is a new western starring Brad Pitt and is directed by Andrew Dominik who also directed the wonderful, “Chopper.” I went into this film with almost no knowledge of the Jesse James gang or the assassination of the legend. This film surprised me. The opening alone will grab you, with Roger Deakins amazing cinematography, Nick Caves entrancing score and a narration that is strongly reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon.” This is not your average western. This film is very dark, with Brad Pitt playing his darkest character since, “Kalifornia.” Brad Pitt doesn’t use a lot of words in his performance, it’s all looks and internal turmoil, he is truly mesmerizing in this performance, showing a more mature actor then we have seen before. He is matched perfectly by Casey Affleck who is finally used to his full potential as Robert Ford. Casey Affleck plays Ford as a very vulnerable, fragile young man with a thirst for recognition. Hopefully this performance might break Casey out of his brother’s shadow. The rest of the cast is superb with a funny and odd performance by Sam Rockwell. The cinematography is excellent. Roger Deakins turns in some of the best work of his career. He brings a dream like quality to the images that gives the film a fable like quality. It’s this quality that separates this film from other westerns. It has more in common with Sam Peckinpah’s underrated, “Pat Garret and Billy the Kid.” It has to do with living up to ones own myth and also how far a person will go to be famous. But I see one serious problem with this film. A major studio made it. This isn’t a film for everyone. This isn’t, “Tombstone,” it’s not an action packed western. It’s a very emotional film. The action that does happen is quick and realistic much like a Sergio Leone film. This is a film for my father, a person who grew up on westerns and loves them. It has more in common with art house films and this might make it a tough sale for the studio, which will probably try to sell it as another, “Legends of the Fall.” I’m not saying that,“Legends,” is a bad film; it’s just that this is a much darker film. Another problem is that the version I saw the other night was easily three hours in length. That can make any studio nervous and I’m afraid the studio will start cutting the film up in hopes of getting a bigger audience. This film needs the three hours, much like Sergio Leone’s westerns (which were notoriously edited by the studios) this film is about anticipation and scope. I wouldn’t be surprised if they cut this film up but I beg the studio not to. Basically I hope everyone gets to see this film in its current cut. This is the kind of film that will probably be passed over in theatres but will get a lot of recondition over time and will be seen as the truly great film it is. You can call me Bronson.

BOING!!! I really need to see this. Sounds like the movie I hoped they were making! - Harry

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