Photo courtesy of IFC Films
Photo courtesy of IFC Films

By Megan Bianco

They say Hollywood grows on nepotism, and this month’s artsy crime drama Ain’t Them Bodies Saints from editor turned filmmaker David Lowery is a pretty good example of that. The cast consists of Casey Affleck (brother of Ben), Rooney Mara (sister of Kate), Ben Foster (brother of Jon) and Keith Carradine (son of John). Fortunately for the film and Lowery, all the actors have the skills and talent to lead this movie.

In a mid-20th century Texas, Bob Guthrie (Affleck) is sent to prison after committing a robbery and taking the blame for his wife Ruth (Mara), who shot a policeman Patrick (Foster), as a group of officers fired at their house. In the ensuing five years, Ruth gives birth to their daughter, Bob escapes from prison (set on returning home) and Ruth and Patrick become friendly.

From the cinematography and aesthetics alone, one might think Ain’t Them Bodies Saints was a Terrence Malick feature, as it seems to be influenced by Badlands (1973)—a bit too heavily influenced for those familiar with Malick’s resume. While Lowery’s narrative could use some more originality, a trippy, folk-inspired music score by Daniel Hart and the shining camerawork from Bradford Young make the film a celluloid feast for the eyes. And Affleck, Mara and Foster show that they have some of the most interesting and overlooked careers in show-business.

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