User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 173 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 173
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  1. Dec 21, 2012
    10
    Equally barren and majestic with an affective anti-western motif running through it's doom-laden story. Pitt; equal parts sociopath and charming snake plays the character for what he realistically probably was is matched in some ways exceeded by Affleck's callow and servile Ford. A study of perverse hero worship gone awry. Where the movie really delivers is not so much the killing ofEqually barren and majestic with an affective anti-western motif running through it's doom-laden story. Pitt; equal parts sociopath and charming snake plays the character for what he realistically probably was is matched in some ways exceeded by Affleck's callow and servile Ford. A study of perverse hero worship gone awry. Where the movie really delivers is not so much the killing of James, but the aftermath and consequences of murdering a pseudo Robin Hood is the most compelling material, and worthy of its prolonged running time which gives us the time to see how these characters develop their sad trajectories. Expand
  2. Sep 26, 2011
    9
    Some may find it tiresome (they should watch more action-packed Westerns then), for me it is the best Western ever made. Not that it's a perfect representation of the genre per se, but it's a perfect, psychologically energetic, beautiful drama about human nature, about identity, loneliness and friendship, fatherly bonds, rivalry, vulnerability and affection, and maybe above all, the humanSome may find it tiresome (they should watch more action-packed Westerns then), for me it is the best Western ever made. Not that it's a perfect representation of the genre per se, but it's a perfect, psychologically energetic, beautiful drama about human nature, about identity, loneliness and friendship, fatherly bonds, rivalry, vulnerability and affection, and maybe above all, the human need of creating and believing in myths.
    Also probably the best acting I've ever seen in a Western, Casey Affleck is outstanding.
    Expand
  3. Oct 5, 2012
    9
    Thanks to slick lighting, immersive storytelling and nuanced character depth, Andrew Dominik's Neo-Western drama is visually and emotionally gripping throughout. The film offers a fascinating exploration of idolisation and myth-making, and Casey Affleck is superb as nerve-stricken adolescent Robert Ford. Dominik's balance between art and entertainment is spot-on, and although (like itsThanks to slick lighting, immersive storytelling and nuanced character depth, Andrew Dominik's Neo-Western drama is visually and emotionally gripping throughout. The film offers a fascinating exploration of idolisation and myth-making, and Casey Affleck is superb as nerve-stricken adolescent Robert Ford. Dominik's balance between art and entertainment is spot-on, and although (like its title) the film is a little on the long side, the story of America's best-known outlaw has never before been told with such spellbinding energy and emotion. Expand
  4. Nov 11, 2011
    10
    This movie is simply amazing. The writing, acting, direction, and production are all perfect. Some may call the movie slow, but I didn't think so at all. I was engaged throughout the entire movie.
  5. May 27, 2012
    10
    Point blank, this is probably the single most underrated film in the last decade. Absolutely **** amazing, and one of the best movies I have EVER seen. The acting was beyond incredible, as was the cinematography, music, directing, writing, plot, and everything else. This is a true masterpiece.
  6. CherylM.
    Oct 4, 2007
    10
    A flawless meditation of a time literally brought to life through skillful acting, immaculate research and a knowing understanding of the not too distant past.
  7. JayM.
    Apr 9, 2008
    9
    This western meditation on the perils of celebrity is certainly one of the best films of 2007. There is no denying the integrity and subseqent execution of Mr. Dominik's most singular vision; with this film he has elevated himself to the fore of American filmmakers. And I might add that Casey Affleck gives perhaps the performance of the year.
  8. RCR
    Oct 22, 2007
    10
    An excellent film. Its plodding pace mirrors the slow boil of youthful fantasy turned matured disillusionment. Affleck is perfectly cast as the designing, dangerous Ford. Pitt possesses greater range than I have previously given him credit for with a wonderfully deep performance. Rockwell continues to inhabit his on-screen personas with such ease and skill; he's frighteningly good to watch.
  9. RickS.
    Feb 20, 2008
    10
    One of the films of the year. It blew me away with the masterful cinematography; there are some powerful shots in this. Say what you will of Brad Pitt, but he is a good actor. I must say I was surprised by Casey Affleck having 100 times the talent of his brother. I saw Atonement, and I still believe that a few of their Oscar nods should be replaced with this masterwork.
  10. StevenH.
    Mar 8, 2008
    9
    Slow, yes. But brilliant, too.
  11. Tristan
    Dec 17, 2007
    9
    Id like to see it again. A fantastic movie, such a beuatiful portrayal by Affleck (Pitt is also good). The interplay between James and his killer was brilliantly drawn out, how I long to see movies like this where you actually get to know the person and their frailties without having it shoved in your face by obvious dialogue. It was quite long a la LOTR, but i respect that because it Id like to see it again. A fantastic movie, such a beuatiful portrayal by Affleck (Pitt is also good). The interplay between James and his killer was brilliantly drawn out, how I long to see movies like this where you actually get to know the person and their frailties without having it shoved in your face by obvious dialogue. It was quite long a la LOTR, but i respect that because it didnt end where we expected it to. I cant help feeling this film draws parallels with two of my other favourite films and predecessors in the Western (style) genre, The Proposition and Dead Man. Nick Cave wrote The Proposition and Warren Ellis its score. Beautifully slow cinematography and exceptional realism take you right back to the mid-19th century. Just lovely to watch. Expand
  12. AndrewG.
    Oct 7, 2007
    9
    I had no idea what I was walking into when I went to see this. Some people might find this film slow or boring, but I was glued to my seat for the entire duration. It is very emotionally intense, and if you really get into it, it won't seem nearly as long as it really is.
  13. MattR
    Feb 22, 2008
    10
    an instant classic western anyone who rates this movie poorly has no taste! Seriously I am surprised more people aren't talking about this movie. I guess real movies (not crap edited down to 100 minutes) aren't suited for today's audience. Watch it!
  14. RobertH
    Feb 8, 2008
    9
    really a terrific atmospheric western. like nothing you're gonna see around right now. there are more than a few movie watchers who won't be alble to handle it , so beware.
  15. GalenS.
    Mar 10, 2008
    10
    I was a little hesitant to purchase this D.V.D., considering the fact that I don't like western films at all. However, knowing that the movie was based on historical facts encouraged me to go ahead and take a chance. All I can say is WOW! I've never seen a movie with more intense visuals, a better sound track, or more intense acting performances! This isn't a movie, I was a little hesitant to purchase this D.V.D., considering the fact that I don't like western films at all. However, knowing that the movie was based on historical facts encouraged me to go ahead and take a chance. All I can say is WOW! I've never seen a movie with more intense visuals, a better sound track, or more intense acting performances! This isn't a movie, it's a masterpiece of art on the Widescreen! The adaptation of the story is phenomenal, the panorama of the visuals is amazing, and the soundtrack is haunting. Casey Affleck gives the performance of a lifetime as the nit-witted, apparently harmless, yet ruthless Robert Ford, and Brad Pitt plays the part of Jesse James to perfection. In fact, all the acting performances in this movie are top notch, not to mention the fact that the cinematography is out of this world, the sound track is hauntingly surrealistic, and the story itself compelling. While watching this movie, I felt as if I myself had been transported back in time to 1881, and was watching the whole drama unfold before my very eyes! Incredible!!!!! Expand
  16. DanL.
    Nov 14, 2007
    9
    Not only was it beautifully shot- the music also fitted effortlessly and dramatised the effect. You can listen in full to the Nick Cave soundtrack and listen to director Andrew Domink's playlist on the Last.fm Jesse James group page- have a look! Join the group and lots of goodies to win.
  17. GeneralL.
    Nov 10, 2007
    10
    Excellent movie, no hollywood-flick but an emotional, historically correct masterpiece, that builds it's tension not by surprising plot-twists (everyone actually knows how the story goes) but by the great atmosphere, cinematography, the A+ musical score, the acting, cought in long, brilliant close-ups. If you're easily bored and rather entertained by car-chases and explosions, Excellent movie, no hollywood-flick but an emotional, historically correct masterpiece, that builds it's tension not by surprising plot-twists (everyone actually knows how the story goes) but by the great atmosphere, cinematography, the A+ musical score, the acting, cought in long, brilliant close-ups. If you're easily bored and rather entertained by car-chases and explosions, and you don't like the setting, than this film is indeed not recommended for you. Expand
  18. ValS.
    Oct 1, 2007
    9
    Excellent movie! Casey Affleck was superb.
  19. AlexH.
    Dec 9, 2007
    9
    One of my favorite films this year so far. Beautiful cinematography and scenery, great soundtrack by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, and excellent acting. The film manages to feel authentic and mythic at the same time. It is a 'slow' film, yes, but an extremely compelling one for viewers with patience and an admiration for the genre
  20. RobertoV.
    Dec 9, 2007
    10
    This movie is about the times we're living; about the 15 minutes of fame everyone wants to achieve and then be totally forgotten. It's about worship and its limitations and consequences. A wonderful, wondrous, powerful movie with an extraordinary Casey Affleck.
  21. Johnny
    Nov 8, 2008
    10
    Absolutely spellbinding. An endlessly interesting character study that's flawlessly written and directed. Casey Affleck delivers in this career-defining role, and both he and Brad Pitt give two of the most complex performances I've ever seen in cinema. I understand that this film will actually bore many people. It is described as a western but it is an artistic western. It is Absolutely spellbinding. An endlessly interesting character study that's flawlessly written and directed. Casey Affleck delivers in this career-defining role, and both he and Brad Pitt give two of the most complex performances I've ever seen in cinema. I understand that this film will actually bore many people. It is described as a western but it is an artistic western. It is about the film-making; the story; the characters, and not about the all so cliched shoot-em-ups and explosions you see in old westerns. If you can handle art, and steer away from action for just a little bit, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" will truly move you if you can view this in the correct context. If historical accuracy means anything to you, this is THE film to watch. Expand
  22. SmithA.
    Feb 29, 2008
    10
    I am a connoisseur of cinematic detail. Especially in historical movies that I have a fair knowledge of the times they depict. And I am often absolutely, verbally, anal. I drive my wife nuts on this but to me even a background set filled with accurate prosaic items is cause for a private gasp of wonder for me. Hey--someone connected with the movie I am watching actually CARED about I am a connoisseur of cinematic detail. Especially in historical movies that I have a fair knowledge of the times they depict. And I am often absolutely, verbally, anal. I drive my wife nuts on this but to me even a background set filled with accurate prosaic items is cause for a private gasp of wonder for me. Hey--someone connected with the movie I am watching actually CARED about attempting to render history halfway realistically! Someone once said that the past is another country: "They do things differently there." Kudos to the screenwriter and the others who cooperated on this masterpiece. The dialog and diction (supported by the splendid cinematography!) transported me back to the late 1800s. The film seemed to me to be about as linguistically/historically perfect as it could possibly be. If the speech was not exactly "factually correct," it nevertheless rang profoundly true. These old flesh and blood American characters probably and actually talked like this--a mixture of transplanted British courtliness and low-down--often obscene--countrified slang. The clothing was right there along with everything else. I don't believe I will ever look at Kirk Douglas or John Wayne with their smart and silk perfectly-knotted neckerchiefs below their ostentatious Stepsons the same way again. A word or two on the film's cinematography.... This is the first time I have seen color photography that evoked both the beauty of western landscape, the stark, papered-over gritty poverty of frontier life and the "blurred-at-the-edges" sepia daguerreotyped glass plate images of a century ago. This movie was an outstanding experience for my wife and I. Expand
  23. RichR.
    Jul 27, 2008
    10
    Hmm, I finally got around to watching this on DVD, and WOW! I like Brad Pitt a lot, although something tells me I shouldn't. All I can say is this has to be his best acting ever. His sense of existential pain is harrowing. But the movie as a whole brings up something I always wondered about while watching westerns as a kid in the fifties: If there's just one mean boss and a Hmm, I finally got around to watching this on DVD, and WOW! I like Brad Pitt a lot, although something tells me I shouldn't. All I can say is this has to be his best acting ever. His sense of existential pain is harrowing. But the movie as a whole brings up something I always wondered about while watching westerns as a kid in the fifties: If there's just one mean boss and a bunch of weak other guys in the gang, why doesn't one of them just off him and get it over with? I mean, it seems like it would be so easy! Expand
  24. JoeB
    Oct 14, 2007
    10
    The film of the year... bar none. Long ? Baloney! If anyone calls himself a film buff and complains about length of this film, he should stick to 30 minute sitcoms. I wouldn't want to see a second clipped. Great performances down the line. The best film of 21st Century. When they want to, they sure can make 'em like they use to.
  25. JoshG
    Dec 20, 2007
    9
    Very involving and textured film. If you have any sort of cinematic attention deficit disorder, you will probably find it boring. Others will revel in its beauty
  26. JosefK.
    Dec 23, 2007
    10
    Best film of the year. A masterpiece.
  27. MTM.
    Oct 29, 2007
    9
    A fierce and beautifully stylized requiem to an era- easily our own- a post-apocalyptic monochrome Book of Hours, all quirky medieval illumination in Prairie Sampler simplicity. Pitt gives a majestic and leonine portrayal of Jesse, as much trapped animal as hunted outlaw and Affleck is superbly contemporary as an empty and cowardly vacuum of vengeance.
  28. DonnaPearson
    Sep 26, 2007
    10
    Flawed, too long, but a raw masterpiece.
  29. ke
    Feb 26, 2008
    10
    The long title gives away the plot, but damn is the movie good. The cinematography and atmosphere is incredible and the acting by Affleck is great, too. the music is awesome and the final 30 - 45 minutes are awesome. The film is better than 3:10, and if you liked this film >>> go watch the proposition.
  30. MomoM
    Jul 24, 2008
    9
    although a rather long movie, the movie captures the last few months before james' death. I highly praise Affleck's performance. this is possibly the best western movie ever
  31. TheMan
    Apr 13, 2009
    10
    A realistic depiction of Jesse James. This is probably the most historically accurate version of his story that has ever been told on film.
  32. James
    Dec 27, 2007
    10
    Phenomenal film. Aimed at people who aren't stricken with, how should I say, stupidity. The Assassination of Jesse James is why I watch movies in the first place. There's no good or bad guy, the audience is not asked to pick sides, but only to witness the path that these two men have placed themselves upon. The film is beyond gorgeous, and evokes a certain awe during each and Phenomenal film. Aimed at people who aren't stricken with, how should I say, stupidity. The Assassination of Jesse James is why I watch movies in the first place. There's no good or bad guy, the audience is not asked to pick sides, but only to witness the path that these two men have placed themselves upon. The film is beyond gorgeous, and evokes a certain awe during each and every scene. Casey Affleck gives the performance of a lifetime. Just see it if you're not retarded. Expand
  33. Mar 28, 2012
    9
    This is a tremendously ambitious movie. Clocking in around two and a half hours, it is a hefty investment for a movie whose scale and action is more implicit and controlled than grandiose and bombastic. This is to say that the movie dragged a bit. But, taking it aside from this fact, if you can make your way through it in one sitting, it is the most compelling character study I have everThis is a tremendously ambitious movie. Clocking in around two and a half hours, it is a hefty investment for a movie whose scale and action is more implicit and controlled than grandiose and bombastic. This is to say that the movie dragged a bit. But, taking it aside from this fact, if you can make your way through it in one sitting, it is the most compelling character study I have ever seen. Everything is acted to a near perfect level and the cinematography is engrossing. For me at least, the artistic value of this piece outweighs the length and it is by far my favorite movie of 2007. Collapse
  34. Sep 3, 2012
    10
    Haunting, Spellbinding, complete badassery. Easily of the best movies ever made!!
    Definitely the best soundtrack ever made. Yes Nick Cave is a serious rockstar when it comes
    to making a soundtrack sound so honest to its tone that is makes you feel six emotions at once. Give this
    movie a chance and it will change your life.
Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. This fascinating relationship gets smothered in pointlessly long takes, repetitive scenes, grim Western landscapes and mumbled, heavily accented dialogue.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    90
    One of the best Westerns of the 1970s, which represents the highest possible praise. It's a magnificent throwback to a time when filmmakers found all sorts of ways to refashion Hollywood's oldest and most durable genre.
  3. 60
    Although not as radically defamiliarizing as Jim Jarmusch's avant-western "Dead Man," Jesse James has the feel of an attic ransacked for abandoned knickknacks.