Friday, August 23, 2013

Ain't Them Bodies Saints


I saw this film at the Nantucket Film Festival back in June and I must admit I wasn't prepared for it.  As I often preach, I prefer to go into films knowing nothing about them.  Most of the time this works in my favor, but occasionally there are films that might have been better had I been mentally prepared for them.  Channeling his inner Terrence Malick, writer/director David Lowery has put together a film that is more about atmosphere than about plot (and one could argue more about style than substance.)  Like Malick's films (including 'To the Wonder', 'The Tree of Life', 'The Thin Red Line', 'Days of Heaven', and 'Badlands') this is very much an art film, though it may appear at first glance to be a Hollywood genre film.  From what I recall (in between naps) Casey Affleck plays a man who escapes from prison and sets out to meet up with his wife, played by Rooney Mara.  Mainstream audiences should steer clear as they will probably be bored to tears, but art house fans and Malick-lovers may find it brilliant.  It was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and early reviews on the internet are quite favorable.  But as for me?  I'm not sure.  I intend to see it again by year's end to see if it's brilliant or just a giant bore.  But for now ...

Grade: C+


  1. I just got to watch this and I'm on the side that it was quite brilliant. I think it definitely has a special atmosphere about it. The style over substance though I'd have to argue as I feel like the story is there it's just not on the nose. Most movies all they portray is the struggle of Bob getting to Ruth and then them living happily ever after. However here we're not sure that if Bobs getting there is going to lead to a fairy tale ending. I'm a big Malick fan so I really appreciated the subtlety and artsy atmosphere of it all. Did you end up getting a second viewing of the film and if so have you changed your mind?

    1. I did see it again towards the end of last year and I did appreciate it more the second time around. I always preach on here to steer clear of trailers, and that the less you know before you see a film the better the experience. But occasionally this isn't the case. This is definitely a movie that you need to be in the right frame of mind to appreciate and I wasn't when I first saw it. Knowing what to expect the second time, I was able to appreciate it a bit more. Maybe a B would be a better grade?

    2. I feel like a B is a fair grade! I agree with you 100% on the trailers. I like to watch a trailer 1-2 times when it first drops to get excited about a film then stay as far away as possible.