Thought of the Day

I don't believe in morality, but I believe in ethical conduct as set out by His Holiness the Dalai Lama: "Ethical conduct = a way of behaving that respects others’ right to be happy".

Thursday, 29 November 2007

the assassination of jesse james by the coward robert ford

directed by: andrew dominik
written by: andrew dominik and ron hansen (novel)

synopsis: robert ford, who's idolized Jesse James since childhood, tries hard to join the reforming gang of the missouri outlaw, but gradually becomes resentful of the bandit leader.

brad pitt as jesse james
casey affleck as robert ford

(c) imdb

this film was a torture - mind, for me and not for the victims of jesse james and his bandits. it felt like three hours of relentless prison. i kept looking around to detect the same edginess in other people. I was so sure that the film was a big flop that I was feeling sorry and embarrassed for the other fellow cine-philes. at home, i desperately googled the film in search of bad reviews proving that i had not completely lost my cinematic plot, but found an unexpected good balance of good and bad reviews.

don’t get me wrong, brad pitt was sensational in his complex role, and his reactions scarily unpredictable, but the story was incoherent, boring and slow. loftino enjoyed it and attributed my lack of interest to the fact that westerns is not my genre and that i did not know
its background, namely the biography of one of the most infamous american outlaws. notwithstanding, to me it was neither a good psychological study nor a truthful account of american history, but a simply a mis-reading of mythologised hollywood westerns, to put it bluntly.

however, there are two aspects i appreciated in nearly three hours of enduring time:

1. “the errant homosexual attraction between ford and jesse who gifts him with a fateful custom gun. “you’re gonna break a lot of hearts”, jesse says with the blatantly phallic offering. when ford sneaks up on jesse bathing nude (and dominik lavishes attention on pitt’s bare back), the outlaw wonders: ‘i can’t figure it out. do you want to be like me or you want to be me?’” *

2. nick cave’s brief but lively intervention!

we saw nick cave live a few days earlier as one of barry adamson’s guest of honours, and his performance blew me away. he was so vigorous and unrestrained, even more so than immodesty blaize's performance, the dita von teese of the poor people, who delighted us with a striptease which drew the concert to a juicy close.

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