Sitting through 13 films in a matter of six days may sound like a bed of roses. Thankfully, this year’s Sundance Film Festival has been extremely pleasing. The fact that I only saw one film I wasn’t a big fan of means a lot. The funny thing is, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints has been picked up for distribution. The ironic part is that it was picked up by IFC Films which means that you won’t be seeing it outside of an art house theater, and I’m here to let you know, you ain’t missing much.
Bob (Casey Affleck) and Ruth (Rooney Mara) are a pair of outlaw lovers on the run during a crime spree in Texas including armed robbery. After a big shootout, Bob is apprehended and thrown in jail while Ruth is let go with Bob taking the fall after another accomplice is shot dead by the police. Four years later, Bob escapes from prison and is headed to grab Ruth and their daughter born during his incarceration. But other groups have different plans as Skerritt (Keith Carradine) will do anything he can to keep Bob away from Ruth while Wheeler (Ben Foster), goes out of his way to keep Ruth safe from the harm headed her way. There’s also a posse out for Bob’s neck, looking for revenge against their compadre who was gunned down.
Even with this kind of cast you’ll find your head bobbing and your eyes glossing over in no time. Writer/director David Lowery may know how to shoot a good-looking picture, thanks to director of photography Bradford Young, but even with two editors (Craig McKay, Jane Rizzo), Lowery has made one of the most boring films I’ve sat through in a long time. The story here may be plenty enough to fill a complete motion picture, but with only a 90-minute runtime, even the most seasoned artsy fartsy moviegoer will find themselves checking their watch far too often. While Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is not necessarily a “bad” movie per se, it’s still a huge chore to sit through.
Photo courtesy IFC Films