Capital Celluloid 2024 — Day 87: Wed Mar 27

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007):
Prince Charles Cinema, 2.15pm

This modern classic will be screened from a 35mm print.

Time Out review:
Where does criminality end and celebrity begin is the question posed by Australian director Andrew Dominik whose stunning second film – after 2000’s excellent (and not entirely dissimilar) ‘Chopper’ – sets the Western genre barn ablaze to deliver a gripping, Gothic tête à tête between two of American history’s most morally perplexing folk heroes. Kicking off with an expertly choreographed train robbery which acts as both a narrative nub and tonal barometer for the director’s bucolic, mournful mise en scene and script, the film then ruefully traces the interlocking paths of Jesse James and his young admirer Robert Ford. Early word suggested that Casey Affleck’s Ford was the man to keep an eye on come awards season, but this is unquestionably Pitt’s film, his James insouciantly radiating a piercing, unreadable intensity redolent of Joe Pesci’s work with Scorsese, a truly enigmatic presence constantly obscured behind warped glass, thick smoke, or even his own visibly battered visage. Though, in the end, the film’s main intention is to have you query every element of its mischievous title (and you probably will), it’s a journey of immense emotional foreboding and, flabby coda aside, a red-raw classic. 

David Jenkins

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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