the assasination of jesse james
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford was released in 2007. It was based on the novel of the same name by Ron Hansen which was published in 1983. The novel was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award.
The movie starts by giving a glimpse of the last James Gang as they prepare to rob their last train near Blue Cut, Missouri. Brad Pitt has the main role as Jesse James and Casey Affleck plays Robert Ford. Affleck was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor. Sam Shepard is cast in role of Jesse's older brother Frank, who gives a lasting impression that Frank is fed up and ready to call the outlaw life quits.
Other keen notables are Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) as Wood Hite, Sam Rockwell as Charley Ford, Robert's brother, and Paul Schneider as Dick Liddil. The characters have conversation and a meal as they wait for nightfall to rob the train. The acting in this movie is superb as we viewers get absorbed into the story without delay.
The cinematography is very unique for this picture, giving us an "old-time" feel and placing us in late 1881 and early 1882. The camera shots through windows and the outdoor panoramic scenes are really special.
As the movie progresses we are given a blend of what life was like back then, with dinner table, Kansas City street, and small town scenes coming to life. The characters fit right in to their surroundings.
There seems a bit of hollowness in the characters as they search for their identity, but are mystically drawn to Jesse James for support and direction. Even Robert Ford, who ultimately shoots Jesse to death, relates the correlations between Jesse and him in a dinner table conversation.
This movie is worthy of a distinction as one of the best period pieces ever produced. Look for Garret Dillahunt as outlaw Ed Miller, Michael Parks as Henry Kraig, and Ted Levine as Sheriff Timberlake.