I don't know why I thought this film had “a malickian feeling” in my first viewing. Maybe because I was so impressed by BADLANDS at the time. Well, not anymore. it remembers me some crime dramas, but this is very shallow in retrospect — only with a few beautiful, honest scenes.
"Ain't Them Bodies Saints" worships Terry Malick to a somewhat distracting degree, even if it does succeed in emulating the auteur's signature style. But it's the performances and characters in "Saints" that win you over, in any case -- Rooney Mara and Ben Foster in particular are sublime, with solid supporting work from the compulsively watchable Keith Carradine.
This film felt very much like if Terrence Malick remade Badlands with his more modern aesthetic. That being said, this movie certainly is no rip off. It's a blend of poetic acting, cinematography, camera work, writing, and emotion all set is the dry and harsh, yet beautiful Texas landscape. The film unapologetically romantic and thoughtful.
A beautiful film that is uncompromising in it's atmosphere and scenery. Many have compared this to Malick but that comparison is a far cry. This is a moving and ultimately heart-wrenching film that starts slow and builds to a satisfying end. This won't blow you out of the water but it's a disciplined and stunning work. It's strong in almost all areas but is never transcendent.
What I love most about this film is how real it feels. It's sad, but not overly dramatic. It's not trying to be anything. It's beautifully directed with such wonderful talents. Loved the tension/chemistry between its actors, especially Rooney Mara, Ben Foster and Casey Affleck. It was David Lowery's last film, and he made sure it was beautiful.
A slow-burn crime drama that focuses upon the star-crossed lovers played with utter conviction by Mara and Affleck. Casey Affleck is increasingly becoming one of the greatest actors of his generation, supplying a quietly understated role that skirts round the edges of violence. The real revelation here is Ben Foster who delivers a performance of such warmth and depth that it makes a conventional drama unique.
Points for the beautiful, dusty cinematography, the wonderful pace, good performances, and a perfect soundtrack. But no points for the familiar story or its execution, as Lowery makes no attempt to do anything fresh with the material. Not to mention the one-dimensional portrayal of Texas (even stranger seeing Lowery is a Dallas boy). The title is far too ambiguous, and irritating, but that's not a focus by any means.
Quite wonderful character piece that seems derivative of Malick at times but finds its own voice as it goes on. Lowery is one to watch but the film sings due to the wonderful trio of lead performances by Mara, Affleck and Foster with a winning supporting turn from Carradine. The story isn't novel but the films' pacing and performance make it one to remember. Wonderfully shot and edited with a fitting soundtrack.