Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sundance Film Review // Ain't Them Bodies Saints

What the film is technically about:
A Texas outlaw treks across the country to make it back to his wife and child, who are trying to build peaceful and new lives for themselves until he can come for them.

What the film is really about:
It is about loving someone so much, you can sense them walking down the street.
It is about just wanting to hold her.
It is a love letter; it is an elegy.

What I have to say about it:
Ain't Them Bodies Saints feels like a story you've heard your whole life, and never heard before at all. The script is refreshing, the cinematography folds you into the film, and somehow David Lowery manages to write a final act that simultaneously gives nothing away and yet completely appeases your expectations.

The story is simple but compelling. When the director asked for questions at the Q&A after, it was silent for a while, I think for this very reason. We couldn't figure out how to put into words the questions we had. You sense there are deep currents in this film, and yet it is all put forward so sincerely and unpretentiously that it takes some careful words and some careful thoughts.

And as for the music, well, it is perfect. There is clapping. There are mandolins. The score couldn't be more imaginative nor more perfectly suited for the film.

Things you should know:
1) director: David Lowery (with Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara starring)
2) run time: 104 minutes
3) about the thumbnail image: yes, this film lives up to everything you would imagine from that snapshot. it is mesmerizing and haunting and completely beautiful.
4) content: there's some shoot-out scenes (as one would imagine in a film about outlaws), some blood, and a few swears. nothing gratuitous, either in blood or in language.
5) the title: brilliant huh. Ain't Them Bodies Saints. David Lowery said it's from an old Americana-sty;e song he misheard all these years. Sometimes mishearing can be the best kind of hearing.
5) you might cry. But it won't be because your emotions have been manipulated by cheap tricks. It will be because you recognize the characters in yourself, and because what you recognize is sweet and sad and so so worthy of love.

Do I recommend it?
If you have a heart, you need to see this film.

No comments:

Post a Comment