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

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 161 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: 49 out of 66
  2. Negative: 11 out of 66
  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. Sep 3, 2012
    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.
  4. Aug 6, 2014
    This one is certainly very good. It is slow, but never creeps into "boring territory". Rather, it commands your attention and full wraps you into its world. The storytelling here is really is most unique element, as it essentially feels like a visual book in the way it is told and it really benefits from it. Not only does it set it apart from other Westerns, but it breathes a certain amount of life into the film that is very beneficial. The acting from a great cast including Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Rockwell, and Jeremy Renner, is great as always. Pitt and Affleck both really stand out as stars in this one for sure. The writing here is also very strong and the relationship between James and Ford is very well done. Really, all the relationships here are very diverse and well written to the point where it feels as though we know everybody and their motivations. This film is really about the characters, in large part thanks to the great writing of the characters. And finally, Roger Deakins kills it with the cinematography here. Just absolutely stunning cinematography that is really picturesuqe at every single turn. Each shot is just breathtakingly gorgeous and really give this film a fantastic look. Overall, this one has a long, unconventional title and a unique way of telling its stories and is a rounding success. Expand
  5. Feb 3, 2011
    U have to be very psychologically prepared for this drama feast of fabolous performance by Casey Affleck and ofcourse Brad Pitt. At first, the movie seems hard to be watched but as time passes (movie last for about 3 hours) u become more curious 'bout things that would eventually happen, though aware what will be in the end. Name of the movie itself is the mini-synopsis, but this one is definitely slow-paced drama NOT written for mass audience. For what is worth its not commercial... Expand
  6. 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
  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 66 User Reviews