Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

A rather classy drama by David Lowery about a mother (Rooney Mara) and her relationship with two men: a jailbird on the run and the father of her child (Casey Affleck), and a local cop (Ben Foster), who happens to be the man who was shot and wounded during a standoff involving Affleck and Mara’s Bonnie-and-Cylde-esque criminals. It’s small-scale, intimate and very well performed, with Keith Carradine, Remi Malek and Nate Parker impressing alongside the three main cast members. There are echoes of the work of Jeff Nichols and Arthur Penn here, of Altman’s McCabe & Mrs Miller, and most obviously of early Terrence Malick, with a reliance on scenes set during the magic hour that brings the cinematography of Days Of Heaven to mind. An impressive debut, and after the slight detour of last year’s Pete’s Dragon, I’m interested to see Lowery’s next film A Ghost Story, which reunites Mara and Affleck. (***½)