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

by Pat Johnson

The award for the longest and most plot spoilery title goes to Anyhow, that's the last joke I'll make at this movie's expense because it's fricken brilliant in every other regard. Performances by Pitt and Affleck are deep and nuanced, the cinematography ranges from beautiful to poetic, and the story (as read by the narrator) is haunting and tragic while never losing sight of the humanity of its protagonists. It is a superior Western in every way but action, which is portrayed as unnerving violence, not sensationalized gunplay. The next time someone says that Hollywood doesn't make great Westerns anymore, remind them of this film.