This is one of those films that just keeps growing in my estimation the farther I get from it. While watching it, I was enjoying it; a three star rating seemed in the cards. Driving home from the theater, I had decided on three-and-a-half. The next day, I had upped it to four. There’s nothing at all new here as far as plot goes. Casey Affleck is a prison escapee trekking across Texas to reunite with his wife, Rooney Mara, and his four year old daughter, who he has never seen. Meanwhile, Ben Foster’s laconic police officer finds himself being more and more drawn to Mara’s character. Keith Carradine looms on the sidelines; he’s the adoptive father of Rooney Mara’s character and his one goal is to keep Affleck’s character from getting back into the lives of his daughter and granddaughter. The film is languid and incredibly atmospheric. The film seems to take place in two different lightings: it’s either a dark, dimly lit, dusty interior or an exterior bathed in the haunting orange light of a Texas sunset. The film takes place in the seventies and it has the aesthetics of a film made in the seventies. The Malick comparisons come naturally; if they aren’t entirely accurate, they’re at least somewhat apt, though Lowery is more focused on story than Malick’s ever really been. Regardless, the familiarity of the story and the characters are overcome brilliantly by the luminous direction, the spare yet poetic script and, probably most of all, the incredible, amazing performances given by the leading quartet. The performances are all subdued, restrained, very minimal, but the emotion that comes across is strong, very powerful. It’s impossible to pick a favorite; Affleck, Mara, Foster and Carradine all excel completely. These are people who keep their emotions hidden behind a rural stoicism. Affleck’s character is verbose, but rarely emotive in any other way. Mara and Foster are so silent that when they finally have a discussion about the fact that Foster is in love with Mara, neither one of them even speaks the word “love.” Carradine, sadly absent from our cinemas of late, it seems, is as good as he ever was; he hasn’t lost a step. All in all, it’s a magnificent masterpiece. Great film. Highly recommended. 4 stars.
Je n'aime pas dans les vieux films américains quand les conducteurs ne regardent pas la route. Et de ratage en ratage, on s'habitue à ne jamais dépasser le stade du brouillon. La vie n'est que l'interminable répétition d'une représentation qui n'aura jamais lieu.