Directed by David Lowery
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This masterfully told tale about two doomed 1970s Texas lovers is “surely one of the best American films of the year,” said Andrew O’Hehir in Salon.com. “Visually ravishing, tonally commanding, and built around magnetic performances by Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck,” Ain’t Them Bodies Saints “has the dreadful fatalism of a folk song and the spiritual undertow of Tolstoy.” But young director David Lowery “put 90 percent of his energy into the atmosphere,” leaving only 10 percent for the script, said Kyle Smith inthe New York Post. After Mara’s Ruth shoots a cop during a post-robbery chase and Affleck’s Bob voluntarily takes the rap, all urgency vanishes. Even Bob’s eventual prison escape happens off-screen, and the sheriff who by then is sharing Ruth’s life makes a listless rival. Given its lyrical style, the film “has a pretty strong chance of striking some viewers as clichéd or affected,” said Tomas Hachard in NPR.org. Still, the dream-like tone underscores the story’s pathos. Lowery wasn’t trying to make a caper; he’s instead captured “the bitter stagnancy of a place that seems to have no future.”
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