Monday, August 26, 2013
Ain't Them Bodies Saints: ON DEMAND REVIEW
AIN'T THEM BODIES SAINTS - Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Ben Foster, directed by David Lowery (105 min.)
Ain't Them Bodies Saints lends itself to a familiar cinematic tradition of young lovers skirting the law. In the vein of bonnie and Clyde and Badlands, two masterpieces of doomed love, this new feature debut from writer/director David Lowery exists in a world we all know, in a setting we have seen before, and with characters whose motivations have been divulged in countless stories in films past. Maybe this set up is doing a disservice to the film, but I don’t think so. Familiarity is fine if it is done well, and done with performances that outweigh what is expected. That is the strength of Ain't Them Bodies Saints, acting that overshadows genre tropes, beauty in cinematography, and a score and soundtrack that separates the film from its predecessors. It isn’t better than the films which inspired it, but it is different.
Ruth has their child, a daughter, and for four years they live happily in a home given to them by a local property owner, Skerritt (Keith Carradine, in a role you would expect from Sam Shepherd). All the while Bob is writing letters to Ruth, promising his return. He tries and tries to break out of prison until one day, finally, he succeeds. As Bob tries desperately to hide out and inch closer to Ruth and his daughter, another story blossoms between Ruth and Patrick, who has taken a liking to Ruth and the little girl. Foster steals every scene he is in, as Patrick represents a much different, much safer and viable option for Ruth. Does she wait for Bob and escape their comfortable life together with their daughter, or does she stay safe with Patrick?