(aka 'The Assassination of Jesse James')
Given the funereal vibe and
dusky imagery of Andrew Dominik’s gloriously depressive Western, it would be
easy to just slap a revisionist-oater label on the movie without questioning
what, exactly, is being revised. The concept of a filthy, immoral frontier is as
clichéd as bad guys in black hats, and whatever heroic qualities were once
attributed to Jesse James (Pitt) have long since been corrected. Then it becomes
clear what’s being given a fresh perspective here: the reputation of one of
history’s most infamous scaredy-cats. Watching the legendary train robber’s
uncontrollably violent tendencies, you don’t think of Robert Ford (Affleck) as a
yellow-belly, but as a man forced to put down a rabid dog.
Theatrical Release: September 2nd, 2007 - Venice Film Festival
DVD Review: Warner - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|Distribution||Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 6.0 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 5.1), DUBs: French and Spanish|
|Subtitles||English, English (CC), French, Spanish, None|
It's nice to see another western hit Hollywoodland, and although I don't rate this effort anywhere near the caliber of 3:10 to Yuma it does have some redeeming features. I suspect that my major complaint is that it is overly long - spending an inordinate amount of camera time trying to read Pitt's non-existent facial cues. It tries hard to report factual details - of which I am sure most are very accurate, but it can't help promoting and slanting in expected directions. For straight historical value though it is educational for sure - maybe that's the best attribute.
The dual-layered, progressive Warner DVD (anamorphic 2.35:1 ratio) looks very good... with but a few limitations. Again I am seeing what I perceive as SD weaknesses - less than vibrant color representation but detail is exceptional and considering the, over 2 1/2 hour, film shares the DVD with no supplements (and fills almost 8 Gig of the disc) it is probably as strong as it will appear on Standard DVD. I saw no post-production manipulation. In fact digital noise is also very limited and, of course, the print is super clean. I think the caps below give a very fair representation of how the DVD image looks. It is very strong overall. Audio is a standard 5.1 and it sounded terrific when called upon - there are 2 foreign language DUBs if required plus optional subtitles.
The film is better than I may have represented in the opening paragraph and the best thing about this DVD is the price - it's worth every penny (about $16) even though there are no extra features. Of this I am quite surprised but the overly-long film is surely enough to sate most fans - you get enough historical detail with added mini-bio/featurettes. The film is probably too long for a commentary as well. I'll comment on the high-definition versions as we obtain them, but I expect that will surpass in visual appearance. If so - they should be very good.
NOTE: Intentional edge-distorted slow-motion scenes, like below, are present throughout the film