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The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford


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I agree, I loved the 2nd-unit/cutaway stuff in the New World. There were a ton of shots that were great, but one in particular that stood out was a wide shot of the fort and the bay during the winter, with snow on the ground and the wind blowing over the water. I'd love to have that framed and hanging on my wall at home (among many others).

 

Anyway, hearing this little tidbit makes me really excited to see this film!

 

I don't understand where this infomation came from. Andy Cheng was 2nd unit director and stunt crd. on New World where he directed the fighting scenes but he had little or nothing to do with the types of shots you listed above. Many B-roll shots were taken after the film had wrapped principle and were not done by Lubezki, nor was a director present.

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I don't understand where this information came from. Andy Cheng was 2nd unit director and stunt crd. on New World where he directed the fighting scenes but he had little or nothing to do with the types of shots you listed above. Many B-roll shots were taken after the film had wrapped principle and were not done by Lubezki, nor was a director present.

 

Again, numerous articles, one of which I linked to from the Boston Globe, claim Dominik shot at least some 2nd unit on The New World. I have no firsthand knowledge of this; I'm just going by what the press is saying.

 

Do you have firsthand knowledge of the shoot? Did Terry himself shoot a lot of those cutaways after principle photography? If not, who shot them?

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I saw the movie today at the Landmark Cinema in West LA.

 

The photography is fantastic, capturing a certain feeling for the period (with the vignetted shots, the desaturation) while also being very naturalistic.

 

The best scene is probably the opening train robbery at night.

 

There is a certain softness to the movie (not just the special-lensed shots) from the Super-35 format and Cooke S4 lenses, but it's not overly soft and it adds to the "period photography" effect. The blown-out windows also adds to that period effect.

 

The movie itself creates a believable world, it takes you back in time, as opposed to the "mythic" western. I think it strives for, but perhaps lacks, the spirituality of a Malick movie, leaving you with a nagging feeling of "what was that all about?" But it does have an emotional resonance, a mournful quality, that leaves you thinking about these characters, this time in history. For that, it should be applauded.

 

Deakins should get an Oscar & ASC nomination, not doubt about it.

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I saw the movie today at the Landmark Cinema in West LA.

 

The photography is fantastic, capturing a certain feeling for the period (with the vignetted shots, the desaturation) while also being very naturalistic.

 

The best scene is probably the opening train robbery at night.

 

There is a certain softness to the movie (not just the special-lensed shots) from the Super-35 format and Cooke S4 lenses, but it's not overly soft and it adds to the "period photography" effect. The blown-out windows also adds to that period effect.

 

The movie itself creates a believable world, it takes you back in time, as opposed to the "mythic" western. I think it strives for, but perhaps lacks, the spirituality of a Malick movie, leaving you with a nagging feeling of "what was that all about?" But it does have an emotional resonance, a mournful quality, that leaves you thinking about these characters, this time in history. For that, it should be applauded.

 

Deakins should get an Oscar & ASC nomination, not doubt about it.

 

Interesting. I'm so much looking foward to this.

 

And of course, what this film lacks in terms of spirituality, probably isn't Deakins' fault. A lot of directors and editors want to be Terrence Malick, but there is only one Malick.

 

How was the score, David?

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I'm no David but I for one liked the score. Personally I like Nick Cave, so that's one bias to start with, and I also thought it was neat they put him in the movie at the end as a minstrel type. But that's not about the music... When I first heard it I was a little caught off guard, something like, "Wait, this doesn?t fit a period film". I have heard many grumblings about this in reviews of the film but after I stopped thinking about it I thought it enhanced the film as another means to create the uneasy/unbalanced/strangeness that is Jesse James. It was very much like Jarmusch's use of Young's score for "Dead Man" but not quite as drastic. If that helps at all.

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I found the film a bit too long and slow, but Roger Deakins' work is gorgeus.

 

The bleach-by-pass process added a very organic feel to the images, and though the Cooke S4 lenses are a bit soft for wide shots, the 4K DI retained very sharp grains on the screen. Overall it had a great texture and the negative always looked very dense with great blacks (the bleach-by-pass helped once again) and really consistent exposures.

 

The candlelit scenes were a bit desaturated for my taste, but the train scene at the beginning is so beatiful the reminded me of Conrad Hall's "Road to Perdition".

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...the train scene at the beginning is so beatiful it reminded me of Conrad Hall's "Road to Perdition".

 

Yes, indeed. Even in the trailer I was already thinking of Hall.

 

In my theater, the night candlelit scenes looked very saturated.

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One of the most stunning movies I have seen in a long time. The scenes with the train in the begining, and the scene with the man by the door with the bike, and in the old church with the candle light...oh my goodness I could hardly breath. In particular the train robbery at the begining. It was just beautiful, start to finish. Or so I think.

 

As far as the actualy story goes, I thought it was wonderful. I was very impressed with Afflack, by far his strongest performance I've seen yet, even better then Gone Baby Gone (which was also well done by him). It was long and slow paced, but it never onced bothered me. It perfectly captured the era, the locations, and the feelings of trust and betrayal and how you come to terms with both.

 

Roger Deakins rocks. Plain and simple.

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One of the most stunning movies I have seen in a long time. The scenes with the train in the begining, and the scene with the man by the door with the bike, and in the old church with the candle light...oh my goodness I could hardly breath. In particular the train robbery at the begining. It was just beautiful, start to finish. Or so I think.

 

As far as the actualy story goes, I thought it was wonderful. I was very impressed with Afflack, by far his strongest performance I've seen yet, even better then Gone Baby Gone (which was also well done by him). It was long and slow paced, but it never onced bothered me. It perfectly captured the era, the locations, and the feelings of trust and betrayal and how you come to terms with both.

 

Roger Deakins rocks. Plain and simple.

 

I totally agree. In fact i've seen the film 5 times now and I really think its one of the best films I've ever seen. I love directors that utilize the moments where nothing is said to create tension, some people think its drawn out but i'm always at the edge of my seat. My favorite scene in the movie, acting and lighting wise, is the scene where Jesse James travels to visit Ed Miller. The look of the scene make me feel so cold and uneasy, and its a great example of how a look of a scene and aid in a performance; the moment in the scene where jesse stands to gaze out is great and as soon as he looks back to Ed to tell him to go with him on a ride he turns his head and his face falls off into shadow; that menacing eye light is glowing at the side of his eye. Just perfect. Man, talking about it is making me want to see it again.

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I found this little blurb about Jesse James to be rather interesting:

 

The finished film runs 160 minutes and, because of its lyrical narration and Roger Deakins' sublime magic-hour cinematography, has drawn comparisons to Terrence Malick, whom Dominik counts as a friend. (He even shot a week of second unit on 'The New World' before being fired for not being in the Directors Guild.) 'I showed the movie to Terry and he was appalled. He was like: "It's too long, there's too much voiceover, you've got to cut that."'

 

http://www.timeout.com/film/features/show-...-interview.html

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I think it strives for, but perhaps lacks, the spirituality of a Malick movie, leaving you with a nagging feeling of "what was that all about?"

Quite my feeling also. I think the Malick comparisons are overblown, just because he shoots some landscape shots does not mean he is on the same level. I was quite disappointed by this film as I had high expectations going in. I found the direction to be really uninspired, the way the scenes are covered and edited together is very conventional and does not show an interest in exploring cinematographic language at all. I did like Casey Affleck though, not sure why Brad Pitt won Best Actor in Venice, Affleck was much more interesting to watch. All in all too many characters that quite frankly I had trouble telling apart. Only after he killed Jesse james did it become interesting characterwise.

 

With this film I've seen enough 'clouds moving over landscape in fast motion' shots to last me for 5 years.

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Quite my feeling also. I think the Malick comparisons are overblown, just because he shoots some landscape shots does not mean he is on the same level. I was quite disappointed by this film as I had high expectations going in. I found the direction to be really uninspired, the way the scenes are covered and edited together is very conventional and does not show an interest in exploring cinematographic language at all. I did like Casey Affleck though, not sure why Brad Pitt won Best Actor in Venice, Affleck was much more interesting to watch. All in all too many characters that quite frankly I had trouble telling apart. Only after he killed Jesse james did it become interesting characterwise.

 

With this film I've seen enough 'clouds moving over landscape in fast motion' shots to last me for 5 years.

 

I have to agree with many of your sentiments. I also agree that the story didn't really pick up until AFTER James got killed. But geez, by then, you're like 2 hours into the movie!

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I must agree with Chayse here. This is probably one of the best films I've seen in the last 5 years. And I think it's comparisons to Malick shames not this movie - but Malick's. This is everything that Malick's New World strived to be, but failed at. As Chayse said, I was at the edge of my seat all the time - the long pauses and looks creates created menace. Unfortunately not enough directors seem to agree. And as usual, Hitchcock's decree that the "defusing of the bomb is suspenseful - the blowing up of it isn't" is still true.

 

Some great blocking and scene solutions in it, not to mention the lighting. I can only applaud this instant classic.

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It has lingered in my mind in the two months since I saw it, always a good sign. Most movies are forgettable.

 

I just saw the 1939 "Jesse James", one of the first Technicolor westerns, on DVD. What's interesting is that the first train robbery also has a memorable shot, like this one -- maybe it's a tradition of Jesse James movies, or maybe the filmmaker saw this old version.

 

But the robbery scene in the 1939 version begins with a blue-ish dusk shot of a speeding train silhouette against the fading sky as Jesse James runs along the rooftop, in silhouette, in a long panning shot, with the cars windows below showing the passengers bathed in a golden interior light. It's the most memorable shot in the movie -- and remarkable considering this was before the "faster" version of Technicolor came along, so this was something like a working 5 ASA!

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I just saw the 1939 "Jesse James", one of the first Technicolor westerns, on DVD. What's interesting is that the first train robbery also has a memorable shot, like this one -- maybe it's a tradition of Jesse James movies, or maybe the filmmaker saw this old version.

 

The way the gang's masked faces in the forest are illuminated as the train passes has stuck in my mind the strongest. Such a beautifully shot sequence.

 

Now I need to see the '39 version and catch up on some tradition :)

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Now I need to see the '39 version and catch up on some tradition :)

 

Most of the movie is rather crudely directed, but the acting by Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, and Randolf Scott is good, particularly Fonda as Frank James. He did a sequel that Fritz Lang directed called "The Return of Frank James", also shot in Technicolor, that I want to see.

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And I think it's comparisons to Malick shames not this movie - but Malick's. This is everything that Malick's New World strived to be, but failed at.

 

Well, I think it's a good movie, a very brave one considering Hollywood standards. However, I believe Malick's film resonates in a whole other level. The New World is a gourgeous film, as is TAOJJ, but the first one has a powerful idea behind it. Basically, Malick shows that nature is overwhelming because there is something wholy that lies in it. Therefore, the transcendental power of his sceneries and the beauty of his images have a deeper meaning to them, they are not pretty for the only sake of being pretty. In TNW, the princess' connection with nature is sacred, and it is this bond what every good hearted character in Malick's movies strives for but seldomly finds. I'm not saying that TAOJJ is completely void, but I feel that its remarkable stylization is lacking the spirituality of Malick's films. Sometimes it felt a bit imposed, as if the beauty of the image hadn't come from within. Having said that, I think TAOJJ was outstandingly well shot. Roger Deakins is undoubtedly a master and he deserves a place among the greatest.

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I must agree with Chayse here. This is probably one of the best films I've seen in the last 5 years. And I think it's comparisons to Malick shames not this movie - but Malick's.

 

:rolleyes:

 

This director absolutely worships Malick. James is a very good movie, but it does not deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as The New World or The Thin Red Line, in my opinion.

 

One has to consider not just beautiful photography, but the fact that Malick spends years on post-production and is probably (in my opinion) the greatest film editor alive. James was very good, but lacked the transcendent qualities of Terry's pictures, which come in large part from the blending of music, poetic voiceovers, sound design, and editing. Malick speaks his own cinematic language.

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Don't misunderstand me - I love Malick. His Thin Red Line is one of my all time favorites. I also liked The New World, but this film resonated more with me than that one. I sometimes think Malick's gallery of characters detracts slightly from the full emotional impact - sometimes it's better to stick to one or a couple of characters, like this one did.

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