Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

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aint them boddiesIt’s Texas in the ‘70s, and writer/director David Lowery does a wonderful job creating this atmosphere. He was channeling Terrence Malick, and just as Malick sometimes does…there’s just not a strong enough script for what’s a gorgeously shot film.

It has an old west style shootout, and we see Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara holed up. She shoots a cop, and he takes the rap for it. Who said chivalry is dead?

She was already pregnant when this all happened, and the cop that was shot (Ben Foster, with his usual mustache and somber facial expressions), starts to hang around her. He’s a pretty forgiving dude, if ya ask me.

I liked him playing a similar character in the much better movie The Messenger.

Affleck breaks out of prison, but like everything else in this low-key film, we don’t see the jailbreak. It’s safe to say the slow tone through out the picture won’t work for many. I found it was an attempt to add a certain authenticity, when it merely made me feel the whole thing was unconvincing.

I’m not even sure why the search for this fugitive seemed so futile. Perhaps it’s because I’m thinking of how Tommy Lee Jones and his crew in The Fugitive operated, but it sure didn’t seem like they cared about whether he was captured. It made Charles Durning as the flat-foot sauntering into a bar in The Sting asking questions come across like Schwarzenneger. I guess Foster can just walk into a building and look around, with no other cop in sight or staked outside, and that’s good enough for this small, dusty town.

Bradford Young is the cinematographer that gets credit for showing these old-timey general stores and saloons, and creating the lighting that evokes the perfect feel at Mara’s house.

A few times I almost feel asleep and come to think of it – almost every character in the movie appeared as if they were about to as well.

The derivative nature of the picture, and all the other complaints I had with it, means I can’t go higher than 1 ½ stars out of 5.

Bring a pillow.

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