Before anything: Roger Deakins. Quite possibly most exciting, expressive cinematographer working today. He may be, in this film, too good. There were some scenes where I was so enraptured by the visual appeal of this movie that I forgot to listen to the dialogue. Seriously. A scene happened in the back of a general store – and the lighting, the framing, the smoke trailing up through the moustaches were so awesome I didn’t hear anything – and later I realized this was an important scene. Many shots are vignetted with old timey out-of-focus ireses that just never get tiresome.
A great movie. Basically GoodFellas out west. Many people will name check Terence Malick when they see this, but that is false. Malick’s films are in love with their environment – this film is filled with a dark, slow rage. Brad Pitt’s performance is terrific, but the real stand out is Casey Affleck. He is absolutely superb. As is the original score by (?) Nick Cave. I was also fond of the Ken Burns-esque voice over shtick. A long movie, but the extended epilogue was so fascinating I wanted more. Lord knows how the general public will react to this movie, but considering how brooding westerns are just about my favorite things on earth, I am quite taken with this film.