Friday, March 7, 2014

Ain't Them Bodies Saints

A tragic Texan couple (Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara) of the Bonnie and Clyde ilk are doomed to lead separate lives when he takes the rap and several concurrent prison sentences following a robbery and fatal shootout. As he relentlessly attempts escape to return to his love and unseen newborn baby, a deputy injured in the fracas (Ben Foster) starts to look after the newly single mother. The regrettably titled Ain't Them Bodies Saints patterns a Terrence Malick film so closely that David Lowery should be forced to share his directing credit with the legendary, reclusive auteur. Oddly, the film still manages to capture an old-time, breathless feeling almost extinct in today's movies and only suffers when it strays away from the ethereal Malickesque qualities and into more standard movie conventions. ATBS is also given silly dimensions when piling on unnecessary Western elements, although a late occurring swamp shootout is exceptionally well done. I liked the actors almost across the board: Affleck hits the right notes, Foster shows us dimensions of his personality we haven't seen before, and I always enjoy Keith Carradine's presence, here playing an old-time gunslinger and overseer of all the characters. Mara surprisingly struggles with her accent and occasionally seems to be in the wrong key for her morose character. It is also worth noting Daniel Hart's tremendous score.