Adapted from a Ron Hansen novel, Jesse James defies the shoot-’em-up western genre to deliver a biographical drama starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck.
(Those who seek the gun fighting of a rootin’, tootin’ western will be happier seeing this year’s 3:10 To Yuma.)
An oddly quiet and poetic film, Jesse James depicts the downtime between its major events, and usually not the events themselves, which are occasionally shown later. Uncommonly yet admirably, action is incidental.
Complaints abound accusing Jesse James of dragging, but the film’s lackadaisical pacing isn’t the problem: A movie this slow shouldn’t run this long (or vice versa). Indeed, the only thing that exceeds the 160-minute runtime of The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is the movie’s title.
All in all, the film is well made and memorable, with lines like "Poetry don’t work on whores," which could also be said of westerns.