Title: Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
By: Sailor Bear
Seen on: February 23
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is a film I just couldn’t get on board with. From the first moments, I knew exactly how it would end. Which could be fine, if the acting is good and what’s in between the first and last scene is compelling. Unfortunately, this film just doesn’t have either.
Casey Affleck’s Bob Muldoon is an outlaw that goes to jail so his pregnant wife Ruth (played by Rooney Mara) doesn’t have to after she shoots and wounds a cop. Bob goes to jail for years, and Ruth stays behind to wait for him. But Bob doesn’t want to wait until his sentence is up, he escapes and goes to find Ruth and their daughter Sylvie, now 4 years old.
Like I said, the story is not much surprising and doesn’t have any real original hooks. So of course Bob escapes, and of course he gets his old friends to help, and of course the cop Ruth shot gets dangerously close to capturing him. And of course there are bounty hunters out for his head, and of course they get him. It wouldn’t be a drama film if he gets shot dead though, so he just gets wounded and manages to hijack a car and get himself driven to Ruth’s house, where he collapses. And of course she finds him just in time so he can die in her arms instead of alone on the floor of her bedroom.
Nothing surprising or new in that.
The only thing that sets it a little apart from all the other films with the same story, is the storyline where the officer that Ruth shot actually develops a crush on Ruth and hangs around her and her daughter a lot. He does find out eventually, that Ruth shot him and not Bob, but by then he is already in too deep and of course he forgives her. Again not very surprising and a little too safe for my taste. I would have loved to have seen something new and original, because now it never really knows how to really grip the audience.
There were two good things about this film: Rooney Mara and the cinematography. Despite the character of Ruth being not very layered or excitingly different, Rooney Mara does find the strength in her. She’s not a damsel in distress, despite everything that has happened and is happening to her. She is still blind in her love for Bob, yes, but she is not weak. I liked her quiet strength and power, it made Casey Affleck’s Bob a better man.
And the whole film looked beautiful. The scenery was gorgeous and set the perfect tone for the film. Rural Texas in the early 70s was lazy, hot, muggy, and beige, and that comes across perfectly. If only the story was up to par with that.