Ain't Them Bodies Saints

I chose to highlight this film, released (and slightly forgotten) last year, because the holds queue has recently run its course. The plot concerns a small-town Texas man who escapes from prison to reunite with his wife and their child he has never seen. If you're looking for a crime picture that is equal parts emotional relationship drama and technical detail period piece (mid 20th century), check this out. The box advertises it as a "modern western", which I suppose it is, in the way a film like Down in the Valley or Lonely Are The Brave (the last "good Western", according to Sam Shepard's True West) is. It has a few action scenes, but this film is more Badlands than Bonnie & Clyde.

In fact, writer-director David Lowery (editor of the recently excellent Upstream Color) seems to steal quite a bit from the beautifully shot (maybe sometimes too beautiful) grit of early Terrence Malick (credit should go to his talented, up-and-coming cinematographer Bradford Young). I had my problems with the story execution not being super engaging and Casey Affleck kind of playing a role he has done in previous films, but it's too nice to look at not to look at it. Other considerations: Rooney Mara is straight off The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo here, with an obviously different look, and Ben Foster, as usual, tries way too hard but ends up succeeding at giving a way better performance than should be expected from the role. Robert Altman regular Keith Carradine even shows up for a bit to grace us with his always effective been-there-done-that menace. I guess this movie could be a reccomendation for fans of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford that want to watch a movie half as long (though that one might be a near masterpiece, in my humble opinion).