Press Pass LA was invited to an advanced screening of David Lowery’s new western Ain’t Them Bodies Saints which opens this Friday August 16th. The film stars Rooney Mara as a young Texas mother caught between a fugitive boyfriend (Casey Affleck) hell bent on reuniting with her, and a love-struck police officer (Ben Foster) who wants to save her.
The film opens with the beautifully rural land of 1970’s Texas Hill Country, providing the atmosphere in which ill-fated lovers Ruth (Rooney Mara) and Bob (Casey Affleck) share what seems to be their last moments together before their inevitably separated by their wrong doings. Ruth and Bob are not only lovers and expecting parents, but are partners in (actual) crime. They’ve attempted what seems to be their last robbery and crime spree, as they’re hunted and surrounded by the county police.They don’t go down without a fight, as Ruth unintentionally shoots a lawman (Ben Foster) before they’re both arrested. Bob is hauled off to prison after taking responsibility for the crime and shot against the officer, and Ruth is free to go home and eventually have her baby.
Fast forward four years later, Ruth is happy and content in motherhood, yet is thrust back into her past once word spreads that Bob has escaped from prison to return to his family. Bob is hell bent on returning to Ruth, and soon finds himself hiding out in a friends bar (played by Nate Parker) while he awaits the right opportunity. Ruth does not feel the excitement and passion about Bob’s return as she believed she would, due to her slow yet encouraging new friendship with the same officer she shot before Bob’s arrest. Officer Patrick’s affection towards ruth is driven by romantic interest, fatherly concern, and her overall well being. He keeps a watchful eye on Ruth’s actions in the hope of capturing Bob and removing him from the woman he loves forever.
The film’s strongest aspects are its tone and natural development of characters who truly just want to be happy. Each character is driven by love: Ruth’s love for her daugher, Bob’s love for a family that he has yet to hold in his arms, and Patricks’ love for a woman with an innocent and caring soul.
Rooney Mara is transcending as Ruth, displaying unbroken motherly characteristics that are rare in film nowadays. Casey Affleck is magnetic in his lust and longing for a family that he believes was destined for him, and will let no man stop him from reuniting.
Ain’t them Bodies Saints is a masterful combination of classic western aesthetic with the always compelling angst-driven love story. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints hits theaters on Friday August 16th.
Watch the trailer here.