Ain't Them Bodies Saints

Film Review by Philip Concannon | 02 Sep 2013
Film title: Ain't Them Bodies Saints
Director: David Lowery
Starring: Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Keith Carradine, Nate Parker
Release date: 6 Sep
Certificate: 15

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints might ultimately be a triumph of craft over content, but when the craft is this impressive it seems churlish to complain. David Lowery has clearly set out to make his second feature a mythic tale of tragic love in the west, and he certainly knows how to capture an evocative mood, with Bradford Young’s magic hour cinematography and Daniel Hart's wonderfully imaginative score giving the film a distinctive, beguiling atmosphere. He also draws subtle and sympathetic work from Affleck and Mara as the lovers separated by the law, and an unusually subdued Foster as the cop who tries to cast himself as Mara’s protector.

All the film really lacks is an emotional impact to match its gorgeous surface; the inexorable nature of the story means there’s little to surprise, and the final scenes play out much as you’d expect. Still, the film has a haunting quality that allows it to linger in the mind, and leaves us with a sense that Lowery has great work in his future. [Philip Concannon]