AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS (15)

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WHO’S IN IT?

Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Ben Foster (The Messenger), Rami Malek (Night at the Museum), Keith Carradine (Dexter), Charles Baker (Breaking Bad), Nate Parker (The Secret Life of Bees)

WHO’S BEHIND THE CAMERA?

David Lowery (Deadroom), director, writer; Cassian Elwes, Toby Halbrooks, James M. Johnston, Amy Kaufman, Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy, producers; Daniel Hart (St. Nick), composer; Bradford Young (Middle of Nowhere), cinematographer; Craig McKay (Silence of the Lambs) and Jane Rizzo (Compliance), editors

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Bob Muldoon (Affleck) and Ruth Guthrie (Mara) are two Texas outlaws on the run, with a strong love flowing between them. Ruth critically injures a police officer during an intense shootout, but in order to keep his pregnant wife out of jail Bob takes responsibility and is placed behind bars. A few years later, Bob makes a daring escape and flees to reunite himself with his wife and the daughter he has never met, whatever the cost…

WHY SHOULD YOU BE EXCITED?

David Lowery may not be a household name within the circle of American independent cinema, but Ain’t Them Bodies Saints has a very good shot at putting him on the map after thirteen years as a director (mostly of short films, but they still count as something). The former editor has already won over the jurors at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, with the romantic drama picking up a Cinematography prize for its lovely lenses courtesy of Director of Photography Bradford Young, and being nominated for the Grand Jury Prize. While it may have lost the latter to the forthcoming Fruitvale Station (currently without a UK release, but it should have one soon enough), this film has not slowed down in its rapid climb to awareness within the indie community with some even beginning to talk about its award chances at the end of the year.

Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, meanwhile, already have pundits talking about their chances with their powerful co-lead performances. With two Oscar nominations between them, their acting abilities cannot be met with doubt and early word suggests that both deliver career-bests here. However, within a fairly strong field of performances already lined up to make the Academy’s top five next year – juggernaut Meryl Streep being one among them – their chances may be a bit slim. But even if they don’t win over voters, they can still take pride in their work here that will no doubt be amongst many film lovers’ end-of-year lists.

They are not the only stars of the movie, however, because the spoiler in terms of stealing the show is the film’s visual scope. If one watches the trailer, they will be stunned at how precise and beautiful everything looks, with a certain taint to it that makes it look like an Instagram photo. It almost feels as though it’s a Terrence Malick movie – right down to how the plot loosely resembles his earlier film Badlands – but with an actual plot. And that’s just the two-and-a-half minute trailer. Imagine what visual wonders can be achieved in a much longer running time. Put simply, there’s a reason why Young won that Cinematography prize at Sundance.

How it will end up when dumped into the crops of award season still remains a mystery, but whether it garners any prizes or not, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is one of the prime contenders of the Autumn season to become one of the most memorable and talked-about American indies to be released this year. Even though its title alone commits several grammatical offenses.

WHEN’S IT OUT?

FRIDAY 6TH SEPTEMBER 2013

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