The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

the-assassination-of-jesse-james1There once was a film called The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford This Duck Is Going to Fly, and the cunning and all knowing audience went in thinking ‘Aha! I can see what the filmmaker has done there! Leave me hanging for the moment of flight why don’t you!’

And sure enough the film rolls on, and the duck, it waddles about a bit, it quacks every now and then, and still the audience sits there with baited breath, waiting for that plucky duck to fly. Time passes and still that duck just doesn’t fly, but the audience by gum, is still on tenterhooks, waiting for the prophetic title of this film to come full circle. In their impatience they start to question why the duck wants to fly in the first place, but ho hum, he’ll get around to it sooner or later, and by then everything will be clear.

A couple of hours pass and the audience starts to forget why they came in the first place. ‘This is a film about waddling, not flying, not that there’s anything wrong with that’ says the audience. ‘But I do wonder if and when he might fly?’

The internal clock starts sensing that ‘a lot of time has passed’ the story ambles on, the audience is lulled into forgetting all about the flight. Yet before the thought ‘surely…’ has even started to cross their minds, it’s suddenly leapt, the duck is off the ground and is -actually- flying. They’ve seen it coming the whole film, but still can’t quite believe that it’s actually happened, and for a full minute they sit there gaping in awe of the fact. All their doubts, their questions, their fears, they all just disappear. They’re too busy just looking at the duck, in mid-flight, soaring away on waves of music they won’t be able to recall once they’ve left the cinema.

All they will remember is that the duck flew, and that while it did so it wasn’t actually a duck. It was more than a duck. But then in the moments before the credits roll it’ll be there as big and bright as broad daylight, the film’s title:

This Duck

Is Going to Fly

And on that note the audience silently files out, doubting the very nature of ‘duckness’ and ‘flight’ in general. All they can ask is ‘Will I ever fly?’

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3 thoughts on “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

  1. samuelbreen says:

    Great article. It’s good to read blogs that can make stylish points and not try and immitate conventional journalism.

  2. Ben says:

    Nicely done.

  3. […] can’t boil it down to one sentence then the throbbing hordes of cinemagoers don’t want to know. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford? Way too much going on there, and the audience avoided it in their droves. Snakes on a Plane? You […]

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