Assassination of Jesse James, The
Jesse James and his brother Frank are the last remaining original members of the “James Gang”. Since they want to do a big train robbery, they group up with a couple of family members as well as some lowlifes. The robbery succeeds but the end result is a bit thinner than expected and the organisation was quite chaotic. This makes Frank decide to give up his life of crime and return to California while Jesse returns to his wife and child in Kentucky. The gang gets dismissed but one of the members, the 19 year old Robert Ford, gets to hang around Jesse for a little while longer. Robert has always been a big fan of Jesse and loves the fact that he gets to spend more time with his idol despite the fact that people tend to make fun of him.
Robert’s fascination with Jesse goes so far that even Jesse at times begins to wonder whether Robert wants to become like him or to become Jesse himself. However, as time goes by, Robert starts to realise that Jesse isn’t the guy from the stories and when Jesse starts to go out by himself when he needs money, leaving Robert alone, Robert decides that if he wants to become famous he’ll have to find another way…
Sound and Vision:
The stylised image contains some minor compression errors and solarisation but overall things look very good. The colors have a sepia tone during warm periods while they have a blue/green flavor during winter scenes. The image is sharp and details are plenty present. There are certain scenes that have some distortion but that’s intentional to show the difference between the storytelling scenes and the storyline itself.
The soundtrack does its job nicely with good use of the surround speakers and subwoofer while dialogues remain crystal clear. The bitrate used is 384kb/sec which could have been higher and we keep wondering why we never get a DTS track from Warner. Movies like these would certainly benefit from that.
It’s been since Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven” that we get a western like this. The atmosphere is clearly depressing, the combination of the movie with parts where a narrator tells part of the story works like a charm and although in the beginning you wonder what’s so special about this film, in the end everything fits together perfectly and you start wondering how you could have ever have questioned the quality.
Like Unforgiven, this film isn’t about big shootouts or cowboys vs. Indians but rather a psychological story set in a western environment and again it works. Brad Pitt does an excellent job in portraying the paranoid Jesse James who’s suffering from all kinds of diseases and terrorises everyone with his moodswings. However, it’s Casey Affleck who’s the big surprise here. In the beginning you’ll be irritated by his character but it won’t take long before you see just how magnificent he’s playing Robert Ford and shows how the guy’s psychology and behaviour changes as the story progresses.
Without a doubt one of the best movies in its genre and also one of the best that have been released lately. Only too bad that there are no extras present on the DVD, but to compensate a bit we do get a very nice-looking dvd box