This was quite a surprise too. I really loved The Assassination of Jesse James and ended up watching it multiple times over the past 2 years. So the material here was really rather familiar. This movie is quite different though, in that it really begins where Assassination leaves off. This movie is really focused on the aftermath of the killing and doesn’t really touch upon what came before it. This turned out to be so different from the general impression I have of Fuller’s films. Really, the film hardly has any display of violence at all. We see some gunplay at the start of the film but most of the film is about Ford’s resistance to feeling any of the guilt that everyone around him seems to believe he ought to feel.
The scrunched-up expression on John Ireland’s face throughout the film and his nervousness make his guilt and discomfort so transparent throughout the film. There is something about his performance that suggests an undercurrent of anger that he keeps beneath the surface. However, I did love Casey Affleck’s performance in the newer film and I still think that Casey made a better Ford. I loved the scene in the saloon where the singer is singing that ballad when Ford walks in. I think that scene is actually better in this version.
Overall, the performances are all fine and the film still feels like a pretty fresh approach to the story.