Saturday, January 5, 2008

Brandon Colvin's Favorite Scene of 2007

No scene in any film this year is packed with as much emotional intensity and psychological complexity as Jesse James’ death scene in Andrew Dominik’s brilliant The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford. A wordless, meditative exchange between Jesse (Brad Pitt) and Bob Ford (Casey Affleck) oozes with suicidal, homicidal, idolatrous, nervous, and romantic tension that build to the climactic shooting of the quintessential Western outlaw. Gracefully edited by Curtiss Clayton and Dylan Tichenor and photographed with passionate delicacy by the great Roger Deakins, the dense enigmatic murder/assisted suicide scene (which lends the film its name) rides a unique undercurrent of metaphysical and existential probing that arouses an unexpected and deeply affecting swirl of transcendental spirituality and nihilistic disappointment. Essentially an amplified microcosm of the film’s themes, the killing of Jesse James comprises a very powerful scene that lingers in the mind of the viewer like a sun-glinted, dusty memory of human frailty.

*Editor's Note- due to copyright issues, all videos of the film have been taken offline, so the scene is not available to be shown. Sorry everyone!

2 comments:

Chuck Williamson said...

I was literally fiending like a junkie to see The Assassination of Jesse James all year -- ever since I saw the trailer way back when -- as it looked like a poigant and meditative masterpiece, a sort of McCabe and Mrs. Miller meets Terrence Mallick, and what I had heard about it sounded like something I would really enjoy. But, unfortunately, it never made it to here and I did not get a chance to drive out of town to see it.

I'm glad to read that it's all that I imagined it to be, based on this write-up.

But that means, of course, I've gotta wait for the DVD. Boo.

Brandon Colvin said...

It's a really excellent film. I wrote a full review about a while ago that is somewhere on the site, if you would like to glance at it Chuck. Interestingly, the film also has a healthy dose of Tarkovsky and Antonioni thrown in with the classic and revisionist Western influences.