Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

Year: 2013
Production Co: Sailor Bear
Director: David Lowery
Writer: David Lowery
Cast: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Ben Foster, Keith Carradine

One wonders whether – with the increasing tide of eternally dust-blown, brown-suited Southern Gothic thrillers – people who actually live in the deep south of America get irritated with the way they're portrayed in movies. Surely they occasionally wear bright colours, go to sparkling shopping malls and use computers like the rest of us rather than all have babies too early, wear Stetsons and go on the lam from the law?

In what seems to be an eternal 1940s, young lovers Ruth (Rooney Mara) and Bob (Casey Affleck) decide to pull a job to set themselves up, what with a baby on the way. We don't see the job, but suddenly they're holed up with their accomplice in a country shack, the cops spraying the place with bullets. When their friend goes down, Bob convinces Ruth their only chance is for her to say he kidnapped her. It works, Ruth going free and Bob going to the big house.

With her infant daughter, Ruth then waits patiently for Bob to come home, loyal to him to the last even though one of the cops they battled, Patrick (Ben Foster), is taking a shine and becoming protective of her.

Then a bombshell drops – Bob's escaped, and even though Ruth knows the eyes of the authorities will be all over her and her small town home, he'll be coming for her. And with a fearsome gang on his tail, apparently involved in the escape and with a score to settle, he's not coming alone.

Neither Affleck nor Mara could put a foot wrong in many films they work in, and the acting all round in uniformly excellent. The plot also ambles along pleasantly enough like a convict down a lonely highway, but it's the unrelenting dusty and gloomy lack of colour that will test you.

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