The Assassination of Jesse James was a wildly impressive American debut by director Andrew Dominik, but the director’s dreamlike, meditative style does not lend itself to a basic, gritty crime story. This tale of a hitman (Brad Pitt) laboring under the fiscal corner-cutting and meddling of his employers on a pedestrian job is dull, and no amount of pretty slow-motion photography can change that fact. The story is also awkwardly juxtaposed against the 2008 financial crisis and the ascendance of Obama, seemingly all for one supposedly killer line by star Pitt that closes the film. Specifically, referring to Obama’s victory speech, Pitt rejoins: “This guy wants to tell me we’re living in a community? Don’t make me laugh. I’m living in America, and in America, you’re on your own. America is not a country; it’s just a business. Now fucking pay me.”
Oof. I mean, wince. Sigh. Then, oof.
If the movie has worth, it is to see James Gandolfini (as a hitman who has lost his nerve) in one of his few post-Sopranos film roles.