11:40pm – 2:45am
English (American – old West)
2h40 minute runtime
Main genres: Western, epic
Also features: Crime, historical part-fiction, narrative voiceover
Brains: ♦♦♦♦ – Smart for a Western
Originality: ♦♦♦♦ – It has an almost ballad-like story-telling style
Heart: ♦♦♦♦ – What a selection of somewhat likeable anti-heroes
Realism: ♦♦♦♦ – A good bit more realistic than classic Westerns
Humour: ♦♦♦♦ – A little, of the dark kind
Energy: ♦♦♦ – Not the most hectic of Westerns
Setting: ♦♦♦♦♦ – The usual sweeping scope of red rock desert
Pace: ♦♦♦ – Not bad, considering the length of the thing
Grim: A bit
Violent: Just enough for the story
TAJJCRF (there’s an acronym to panic a Welshman) tells the story of infamous old West outlaw Jesse James’s assassination by Robert Ford, and all the events that ran up to it, including the relationship between the two aforementioned.
As with a lot of Westerns made recently, as opposed to the time of John Wayne, TAJJCRF goes for realism in characterisation as well as period detail. Those accents are quite thick, to the point where my poor old classically British father was tempted to switch on the subtitles. A strong attempt has been made to create characters which the audience can care about. Compare that to the cardboard cut-outs that used to go on horsey adventures in the 1960s.
It’s very long – 2 hours and 40 minutes, and as with all films that length, it feels it. I presume the director wanted to make an epic to match the grand scope, setting and subject matter. To be fair, the pacing isn’t bad at all for the length of the thing, but I still say it’s never necessary to have a 2h40m runtime.