Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 162 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford delves into the private life and public exploits of America's most notorious outlaw. As the charismatic and unpredictable Jesse James plans his next great robbery, he wages war on his enemies, who are trying to collect the reward money--and the glory--riding on his capture. But the greatest threat to his life may ultimately come from those he trusts the most. (Universal Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Though there is plenty of gunplay, this is a wondrously contemplative and poetic saga that offers a fresh and bewitching take on a timeworn genre.
  2. Pitt won the Best Actor award at Venice for his Jesse...Yet it's Affleck who impresses most as the wary, skittish Bob.
  3. It is a film, often breathtaking without settling for being pretty, filled with nervous silence.
  4. 63
    The movie dreamily conjures up the outlaw's last months, and it's gorgeous, but long, cumbersome, and slightly shallow.
  5. 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.
  6. 50
    Maybe the life was edited out of it in the two years between shooting and release, or maybe Dominik was simply overwhelmed by the outsized myths of the West, but the film only comes to life after James' death, when Ford quite literally takes center stage.
  7. 38
    A gorgeous snooze, somewhere between imitation Terrence Malick and a feature version of star Brad Pitt's notorious Vanity Fair layout with Angelina Jolie and their faux kids.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 67
  2. Negative: 11 out of 67
  1. Dec 21, 2012
    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 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. May 27, 2012
    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. Expand
  3. Oct 5, 2012
    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 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. Aug 19, 2013
    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is a masterful, slow-burn piece of revisionist western art. Static camera work, detailed acting and inferred subtexts are order of the day here, with almost no gunplay to speak of. The tone is nailed just right and the acting is phenomenal. The assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is intriguing stuff indeed. Expand
  5. Aug 27, 2010
    Just as Kubrick did with "Barry Lyndon," Andrew Dominik presents the story of Jesse James with a sweeping exposition, exchanging all dramatic cues in favor of character closeups, avant-garde style and a revealing narrator. Thanks to great performances by the whole cast and the expansive Western setting which complements the style surprisingly well, Dominik pulls it off. Expand
  6. Aug 24, 2014
    Brad Pitt is clever and convincing as the legendary Jesse James; however, it is Casey Affleck, as Robert Ford, that really allows us to sink our teeth into this one. It's a western, but there's more than that here. Expand
  7. May 6, 2013
    I cant say how bad is this. I really cant but I will try, even if is painful to remember. Lets see, It does not make you cry or bring tears at least (its not a drama film), it has very few bullets or kills or chases (is not an action film), it will not scare you (is not a terror film), it does not have a mystery or plot twist (is not a suspense film), it absolutely will not make you laugh (is not a comedy film), It does not help you at all (it is not a self-help film), it has not biographical accuracy or plot (is not a bio film). To be short, IT IS NOT A FILM AT ALL. But if it would be a film, it would be the worst film ever. Expand

See all 67 User Reviews