Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"Ain't Them Bodies Saints": Casey Affleck gains rooting interest as a "bad guy", maybe (a remake of "The Chase"?)

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”, by David Lowery, presents a somewhat familiar theme.  A rather earthy outlaw Bob Muldoon (Casey Affleck) has escaped from prison and tries to make his way back to his wife Ruth (Rooney Mara, who reminds one of Sissey Spacek) and baby daughter whom he has never seen.  Bob had taken the wrap for wounding a local police officer in a shootout where the shot came from Ruth, so there is (from a screenwriting perspective) an urgency and a rooting interest in his returning to her.

The film is supposed to take place near Meridian and Glen Rose, Texas, in the Hill Country (or perhaps Palo Pinto “Mountains”), but much of the country looks flatter than it really is, and was actually shot in Louisiana and New York State.  The time is the early 1970’s, and that part looks accurate. But even in the 1970's, I didn't pick up hitchhikers.  
The photography, despite the digital projection and 2.35:1 aspect, looked like it was shot in constant twilight.  I saw the film in the Cinema Arts in Fairfax VA before a fair weeknight audience.
The film, a Sundance selection and sponsored by Sundance, was distributed by IFC, even though it was produced with the Weinstein Company. The official Facebook is here

The film reminds me of the 1966 film “The Chase”, with Robert Redford as “Bubba Reeves” who has escaped for prison and heads for his southern town home.  I saw that film my last night in Lawrence, KS, at the Varsity Theater, the spring semester of 1966 at KU, before flying home the next day.  It was the only film I went to that spring, outside of some repertory films on campus (like “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”).  But that (or maybe the following) spring I also saw the horrifying anti-nuke short, “The War Game” on campus. I remember a line from a child in the simulated nuclear aftermath, "I don't want to do nothing."

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