With every month that passes this year only seems to get better for David Lowery. The guy kicked off ’13 with three Sundance films in which he had a hand, the most notable being his turn writing and directing Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. (In theaters and on VOD now.) That led to deals to write and/or direct several other projects: a new version of Pete’s Dragon, the thriller Torso, and The Old Man and the Gun, with Robert Redford.
Now Lowery and his Ain’t Them Bodies Saints star Casey Affleck are set to team once more on an adaptation of the Paul Broks short story To Be Two or Not To Be. The film, simply called To Be Two, will be a sci-fi affair that is drawing tonal comparisons to Looper. There’s teleportation, inter-planetary travel, and a host of ethical and criminal issues that arise when those elements are linked. Read More »
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Note: This review originally ran during the Sundance Film Festival in January. It is based on a cut of the film that is slightly different than what opened limited last weekend and expands this week.
The best way to revitalize a well-worn story concept is often to approach it openly and honestly, but from an unusual angle. That’s what writer/director David Lowery does with the ages-old conflict between an outlaw, a lawman, and the woman between them, in the exceptional modern western Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.
Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, and Rooney Mara are the people crossed at a crucial point in time. You’ve heard the story before, or at least seen the setup: one guy pulls a criminal job, and is caught in a fight with sheriff’s deputies as a result. His girlfriend is stalwart and sticks with him, even when the consequences of his criminal actions hit hard. But life is complicated, and plans go right to hell.
Deliberately paced and more interested in aftermath than big action scenes, a shorthand caption for Ain’t Them Bodies Saints could be “Cormac McCarthy by way of The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford.” Each role is acted with calm precision, and directed with a measured hand. Lowery never falls to the temptation of overplaying a scene. It is one of the best films I’ve seen at Sundance 2013, and a must for fans of the slow burn or directors Andrew Dominik and John Hillcoat. Read More »
David Lowery‘s film Ain’t Them Bodies Saints was among the best debuts at Sundance this past January, and it quickly found a release deal with IFC. (My glowing review is here.) The first trailer is here, opening with a slow, hazy expression of love which is soon overshadowed by the dark current that runs through the film. Casey Affleck shines as an outlaw who can’t quite face the idea that his family may be lost, while Rooney Mara excels as the woman caught at the tipping point between a very different past and future.
A gently percussive score and rhythmic cutting push the trailer forward, and the shade of Cormac McCarthy that inhabits the story becomes a bit more apparent as this edit hits a minor crescendo. It’s a great trailer for an excellent film. Read More »
David Lowery‘s film Ain’t Them Bodies Saints was one of the best films of this year’s Sundance Film Festival. IFC will bring it to theaters in August, and the film is screening in Cannes this weekend. Along with that screening we’ve got a new teaser poster for the film, painted by the director’s brother.
The poster, by Benjamin Lowery, shows the film’s central couple, Bob Muldoon (Casey Affleck) and Ruth Guthrie (Rooney Mara). They live together as outlaws, but Bob takes the blame for one of Ruth’s actions during a shootout with cops and goes to prison. Four years later, Bob escapes and makes his way back to Ruth and their daughter.
Ben Foster and Keith Carradine also star, but for right now we’ll keep the focus on Bob and Ruth, with Ruth rightly taking prominence on the poster. See the image after the break. Read More »
The graphic novel Torso, which follows Elliot Ness after the capture of Capone as he moves on to a serial killer investigation in Cleveland, has been the object of multiple adaptation attempts by various producers. We haven’t talked much about the Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andreyko graphic novel since David Fincher walked away from a possible adaptation in ’09. Rights to the story lapsed at that point, blocking Fincher’s potential version.
Now Torso is coming back to life, and with one of the more exciting talents to make headlines in 2013. David Lowery, the Ain’t Them Bodies Saints writer/director and Upstream Color editor who recently made deals to write Pete’s Dragon and to write and direct The Old Man and the Gun, will adapt and direct. Read More »
Damn, how David Lowery‘s career has rocketed forward this year. After a few years in which he crafted a string of shorts and the feature St. Nick, Lowery had three films at Sundance this past January. They were Pit Stop (which he co-wrote), Upstream Color (which he edited), and the great modern-ish western Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, which he wrote and directed. Saints is, as far as I’m concerned, among the best films of 2013 so far; it will be released by IFC later this year.
Lowery was recently set to write a remake of Pete’s Dragon for Disney, and now he’ll direct Robert Redford in a film called The Old Man and the Gun. The story is centered on Forrest Tucker, a lifelong bankrobber who spent much of his life in jail, whose story came to light after he was arrested for a Florida bank robbery at the age of 78.
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The multi-hyphenate David Lowery is going to be someone that many more people are talking about within the next few years. He’s got three films doing the festival circuit this year: the indie drama Pit Stop, which he co-wrote; the exceptional ’60s-set western Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, which he wrote and directed; and Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color, which Lowery edited. I haven’t seen Pit Stop at this point, but his other two 2013 efforts are two of the best films of the year so far.
Given that resume for this year alone, I wouldn’t have been surprised by anything Lowery did next. Except for this: he’ll write a reboot of Disney’s ’70s live-action/animation hybrid Pete’s Dragon, in which a young orphaned boy flees his abusive adoptive family, with the help of his dragon friend Elliott. Read More »