I had been looking forward to Ain’t Them Bodies Saints for months as the next big dramatic indie of the year, following The Place Beyond the Pines and Mud (see prior posts). My expectations of something good — based on the trailer and a cool poster — makes me dislike this film even more for how terrible it is.
It’s story was like a trimmed-down Mud, (6/10) — but very trimmed down. Mud combined the familiar outlaw on the lam trying to get back to his love theme with a boy’s perspective à la Stand By Me. Mud was more complex, and infinitely better. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints has a paper-thin plot and supposedly smoldering, smoky and deep performances by the stars Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck (to see him with the Texas drawl — which he nails again in Saints — but in a good movie, watch The Killer Inside Me). Affleck and Mara aren’t remarkable here, but I think do what the director asks of them. But the director had no vision.
It’ll be a sin if Rooney Mara is nominated for her role here — which I doubt will happen — instead of for her job in Side Effects, a much better movie. I will give one positive: the small-town Texas sheriff is portrayed as a nice guy, bucking the obvious stereotype. If you’re curious about this movie, watch the trailer — you won’t get any more out of the non-story which is Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. Such a waste. 2/10