When you do an internet image search for “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” the majority of photographs that appear are just like the one above. Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck interlocked as the two lead characters; their heads as close as possible to one another as the infatuated couple, Ruth and Bob. The montage of images that appear from said search summarise the characters and the central theme of Ain’t Them Bodies Saints; the addiction, loyalty and unity of a couple ripped apart by their decisions, situations and punishments. After Ruth accidentally shoots and seriously injures a police office,during a shoot-out that follows one of the couple’s unidentified acts of crime, Bob takes the blame and is sentenced to years in prison – the amount of time never being fully revealed. Bob breaks out and then the film’s narrative starts to slow down its pace. With so much action and change in the opening minutes, Director David Lowery then permits the remaining events to span out gracefully over the final eighty minutes of the film. The action is split between Bob, who is in hiding and planning to return and rescue his wife and daughter, and Ruth who is trying to move on with her life whilst maintaining her loyalty to Bob.
Rooney Mara gives an outstanding performance as Ruth who truly captures the abandoned lover, the loyal partner, the loving mother and the struggling woman. Casey Affleck is equally enjoyable to watch. Both actor and actress are at their best when on screen together which is, sadly, not all that much. Several impressive supporting performance help to maintain the film’s excitement and although there are one too many “Sundance”-esque shots, the strong story of agony and determination, that drives Ruth, Bob and the overall narrative, keeps the audience interested and emotionally involved. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints cuts right to the chase. It is a stylish, simplistic story, elegantly told.
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