January 09, 2012
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Brad Pitt tries to layer a philosophical undercurrent into his performance as Jesse James, and Casey Affleck, as the calculating Robert Ford in the title, turns squeaky-voiced weaselly-ness into an art form--an undignified, desperately unappealing one. Pitt registers. He's an actor who hasn't really gotten his due. But the movie is unsustained--parts are better than the whole--and so his performance and his staying power are rendered somewhat less effective. The supporting cast is populated with good actors who are bogged down by a boring script and the shackles of self-important filmmaking: Sam Rockwell, Jeremy Renner, Paul Schneider, Mary-Louise Parker, Sam Shepard, and Zooey Deschanel.