Ain’t Them Bodies Saints  (2013)    59/100

Rating :   59/100                                                                       96 Min        15

A film that has its moments, but overall feels largely pointless, not to mention derivative of the work of Terrence Malick. Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara play Bob and Ruth respectively – young lovers involved in a gang of thieves that we don’t really learn too much about, as very early on the police put an end to their career of choice by sending Bob to jail and leaving a now pregnant Ruth in the care of their adopted father Skerritt (Keith Carradine). Years further on, one of the local sheriffs, played by Ben Foster (who normally plays a total creep, and here looks completely out of his element, and frankly unbelievable, trying to be the ‘nice guy’), decides he rather fancies his chances of looking after Ruth and her young girl, which just so happens to coincide with the jail break of a certain ardent and desperate young father …

Overall the entire film feels like it’s trying too hard to be ‘arty’ and heavy with ‘depth’, and it reminds The Red Dragon a lot of ‘To The Wonder’ – there we seen Olga Kurylenko frolic in the fields with the sun low in the sky behind her, here we see Rooney Mara frolic in the fields with the sun low in the sky behind her. The music and the way it’s used feels similar, and although there is a lot more dialogue here, it still retains attempts at wanky poetry – especially issuing forth from Bob, and Affleck rarely convinces in any scene here. Indeed, one in particular is downright annoying as he delivers some vain rambling monologue in front of the mirror whilst chewing on something, slurring his words and talking in an unnatural affected way, ironically perhaps an attempt at ‘realism’. Given Casey’s brother, Ben Affleck, also starred in ‘To The Wonder’, these things do not seem like coincidence at all. Mara and Carradine are good, but with the pretentious title heralding a particularly hollow drama, it was wishful thinking indeed for director David Lowery if he thought this would touch base with such outlaw classics as ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ (67) and ‘Badlands’ (73) – the latter of which was also directed by Malick. Coincidence?

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