The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

Australian writer-director Andrew Dominik (Chopper) made his astonishingly individual US debut with his intensely poetic take on the last months of the infamous American outlaw.
“A poetic masterpiece... This definitive treatment of the legendary event of the title pivots on a hero-worship and paranoia that are entirely appropriate to our present era.” Jim Kitses, Sight & Sound, December 2007 Boldly giving away the outcome in the title, writer-director Andrew Dominik’s western concentrates instead on poetic period recreation and intense psychology in a series of haunting episodes framed by narration from Ron Hansen’s source novel. Brad Pitt reinvents the famous outlaw as a paranoid psychopath, but it’s the Oscar-nominated Casey Affleck who dominates with his simultaneously creepy and hearbreaking performance as Bob Ford, the bright-eyed young wannabe with “an appetite for greater things” whose hero worship turns homicidal. The oil-lamp glow of Roger Deakins’s cinematography and the ethereal piano-and-viola score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis enhance a brooding atmosphere of fatalism, offset by scenes of salty male banter and dreamlike set pieces such as the night-time train robbery in a forest. Other screen incarnations of the outlaw include Tyrone Power in Jesse James (1939), Robert Duvall in The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (1972) and Colin Farrell in American Outlaws (2001).
2007 USA, United Kingdom, Canada
Directed by
Andrew Dominik
Produced by
Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Ridley Scott, Jules Daly, David Valdes
Written by
Andrew Dominik
Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard, Mary Louise Parker