Release date: August 30, 2013
Written and directed by: David Lowery
Starring: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Ben Foster, and Keith Carradine
Official website: facebook.com/AintThemBodiesSaints
Set in 1970’s Texas, “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” stars Casey Affleck as Bob, and Rooney Mara as Ruth, two star-crossed lovers separated by fate. They are criminals on the run, but the law is catching up with them. Ruth is pregnant, and to save his beloved from prison, Bob allows himself to be taken into custody, clearing Ruth’s name in the process.
The years pass and Bob remains in prison as Ruth raises their daughter alone, but under the watchful protection of Sheriff Wheeler (Ben Foster), the man responsible for capturing Bob and taking him away from his family. When Bob finally manages to break out of prison, he sets across the countryside determined to reunite with Ruth and the daughter he has never seen.
In Bob’s absence, Sheriff Wheeler has taken a liking to Ruth, looking after her. It all makes for a lot of long passages where little is said, leaving the actors to brood their longing and conflict.
Writer and director David Lowery, delivers a simple story with complex characters for his first full length feature. The film plays as an homage to the neo-noir films of the 1970’s. He’s clearly drawing inspiration from Terrene Malick and Robert Altman. It’s a beautifully shot film that allows the characters to tell their story, rather than force fead the audience.
While at times, the film’s slow pace starts to work against it, the cast picks up, each of them delivering emotional performances. Casey Affleck is the driving force behind the movie. He’s a hardened criminal but he’s driven by love and love alone. Rooney Mara, seen recently in the American version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, is endearing as a single mother with a broken heart.
One of the real head turners here is Ben Foster, who plays one of the more down to earth and real people he’s played on screen in a long time. Usually known for his creepy and psychotic characters from such movies as “30 Days of Night” and “Hostage”, plays a very grounded role here.
“Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” won’t dazzle you with stunning action sequences or quirky dialogue, but it has an element of human spirit and hope that flows through the movie right up until the final heart breaking moments.
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