Tom Basham

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

In This Just OUT on August 31, 2013 at 12:17 am

Them-Bodies-SaintsIt ain’t like the title “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” has anything to do with the movie, but it ain’t a bad title either. From Director/Writer David Lowery, this Indie drama and Sundance Film Festival darling is a piece of work.

Bob Muldoon (Casey Affleck from Tower Heist) and his gal Ruth (Rooney Mara from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) are in love somewhere in 1970’s Texas. She is drawn to him and his dream of a better life. He goes after it the old fashion way: steal it from somebody else. This gets him 25 to life in the state pen with a pregnant Ruth on the outside. After about five years, Bob breaks out, and everybody knows where he is going.

Ruth has been waiting for him – and in the most conflicted way I have ever seen. There are no clichés here, just a great understated performance from Mara that makes you want to drive to Texas and take care of her. She fell for this high-spirited guy with the twinkle in his eye and followed him – knowing it could take her down – based on her original decision to love him. Then, she gets the chance to make the decision all over again.

When we come into the last act, we don’t know what’s going to happen, but we do know the characters are driving the movie. Their core needs and goals are all that is being served, and the filmmaker does a great job of staying out of the way of the story and not wedging in cute plot twists. None of it felt contrived, and though the movie is not perfect, I would not be surprised to see Mara and Affleck get major recognition for their work here.

With a 96-minute running time, the movie worked for my schedule and my patience. But when it was over, I felt like they could have done more. It looked and felt like a Cohen Brothers movie, and it was good, but it needed a few more scenes to make it great. Lowery does such a good job with the imagery and sparseness of the dialogue; the real power of the story and characters were kept from us.

The movie is about love, family and a lost kitten metaphor that is just “purrfect.” I can only give this movie 4 stars out of 5, because there was just not enough meat on the lovely bones of these bodies. But keep an eye on this Lowery guy, because he is no saint.

Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker.

Here is a link to his movie review site:
https://bashmovies.wordpress.com/

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