October 25, 2012
Rare film, basically improves 1 star per viewing
The Old West of this film is not particularly heroic; it's muddy, bloody, and cruel, and the viewer soon gets the feeling that the politeness displayed by some characters is actually a desperate attempt at civility, done basically to help them keep from losing their minds.
Casey Affleck's performance is just phenomenal. This film's gorgeous cinematography and soundtrack, plus all the other great performances, are still more reason to give this a chance.
I'll add that I've now watched this a few times and, much like Terrence Malick's "The Thin Red Line," my opinion of this film has improved with each viewing. I think that's because this is so definitely NOT what you'd expect in a "western." As far as I'm concerned, this film has reinvented the genre, just as Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven" did.
I will say this, though: the voice-over narration is rather annoying at times--that is, until the last five or ten minutes, which are absolutely flawless.
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