Brad Pitt is back to his charismatic best as the outlaw Jesse James in this Andrew Dominik flick, which somehow manages to be both entertaining and quietly thought-provoking in equal parts.
The film traces the slow deterioration of James’ criminal gang, with the analogy of modern celebrity quietly present in Pitt’s performance as the Robin Hood of his day. Casey Affleck is also superb as the nervy, insecure yet ambitious Robert Ford, a wannabe outlaw who starts off worshiping Jesse, but ends up betraying and killing him.
Rather than go flat out for a one-dimensional, gun-slinging fight-fest, the film instead impresses as a meditation on betrayal, as well as the question of how and why a man becomes a myth.
Those looking for chain guns and shootouts may find it a little too slow-paced and lingering, but the brilliance of Pitt and Affleck should seduce even the most impatient of viewers.
Throughout, Pitt brings to the film a sense that his character almost knows he will be killed, a subtle sense of inevitability helps create the movie’s taut atmosphere.
The fact that the film’s title tells you who ultimately kills Jesse should be enough to indicate this isn’t a ‘whodunnit’ thriller.
Instead, it’s a thoughtful portrait of friendship, betrayal and the very thin line between triumph and disaster on the wrong side of the law. With the Full HD 1080p picture breathing new life into the film’s cinematography and a superb score from Nick Cave, it’s a must buy.