The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

A Modern Masterpiece

When most people think of Brad Pitt, tabloid magazines and Angelina Jolie come to mind. But when watching his terrific portrayal of Jesse James in his latest movie, “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” rumors of whether Angie and Brad are breaking up will be the last thing on audiences’ minds.

The film chronicles the final year in the life of Jesse James, an outlaw wanted by authorities yet a heroic icon to the common people (similar to Robin Hood). His intentions, however, were the opposite of Robin Hood’s. For James, robbery is a method of personal gain and his anti-hero ways shine most during a scene in which he beats a young boy, and even worse, a scene in which he shoots his friend in the back, then once again as he lies helplessly on the ground.

It is during the movie’s lone shootout scene that Robert Ford (Casey Affleck) manages to leech onto James, whom he has idolized since he was a young boy.

Further into the movie, it can be seen that what Ford really admires about James is his fame and legend. In one scene, James asks Ford, “Do you want to be like me, or do you want to be me?” It is this sick obsession, paired with cowardice, which eventually leads Ford to shoot James in the back.
Fearing for his own life, Ford plots to kill James. Not only would he save his own skin, but assassinating one of the most notorious outlaws would bring more fame than he could ever imagine.

ord takes full advantage of this fame, reenacting the incident again and again for audiences in a theater. It is here that he is first accused of being a coward, and the accusations do not stop there. It is as if the public beats the idea into Ford, since he eventually reaches the conclusion that he is, indeed, a coward.

Believing he would become a legend as James had been was a mistake, for when James realized his life was at an end, he admirably accepted his fate.

If audiences take anything away from the movie, this should be it. Both James and Ford seemed to have this lingering sense of regret when they knew their ends were near.
The movie closes as Ford, like James, is murdered. While James remained a legend after death, Ford became nothing but a mere memory.

This movie has “Oscar nomination” written all over it; not only does Pitt’s precise acting skills bring Jesse James to life, but he adds menace and fright which compliment Affleck’s Ford. This is no doubt a role that will take Affleck’s career to all-new levels, as he was the true star of the film.

“Assassination” is truly a work of art and highly recommended to someone who appreciates superb acting skills and strong dialogue. For those who want action and excitement, this movie might seem a bit too drawn out, but it is certainly not a waste of time; everyone should give this Oscar-worthy gem a try.

3 1/2 out of 4 stars

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

We love comments and feedback, but we ask that you please be respectful in your responses.
All The Torch Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *