Watching The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, it becomes clear that awards season is approaching. The acting is superb, the story grips you and the pace keeps your heart beating fast from the opening scene until the credits.
The film starts with the final train robbery of the James gang and then follows the final year of the legendary outlaw Jesse James (Brad Pitt) and his interaction with the Ford brothers (Casey Affleck and Sam Rockwell). Along the way, director Andrew Dominik shows the transformation of Bob Ford (Affleck) from an obsessed admirer of James to a murderer who killed his idol.
The story is slow-paced, but even with the film running 160 minutes, it never feels slow. It is just a steady intensity that grasps a hold of you from the first time you see Jesse James until his last breath. Pitt is haunting in his portrayal of James, borderline psychotic at times as he instills a mesmerizing fear on everyone on and off the screen. Affleck, in the midst of a career year, gives an eerie, at times completely creepy performance as the 20-year-old assassin, who longed for nothing more than to be a member of the James gang.
The performances are what dominate this film, with Sam Rockwell giving his best performance to date as Charley Ford, but the film itself is a technical masterpiece. It is filmed beautifully and simply and allows the brilliant acting to carry the story, which it does skillfully.

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