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Movie review: Crime doesn't pay in 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints'

Published September 13, 2013 12:03 pm

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The moody and well-staged "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" imagines a "Bonnie & Clyde" scenario where most of the violence is off-camera, but the consequences aren't.

Married criminals Ruth (Rooney Mara) and Bob (Casey Affleck) are caught after a shootout with deputies in a Texas town. Bob goes to prison, taking the fall for Ruth when she shoots a deputy, Patrick (Ben Foster). Ruth is acquitted and has Bob's baby girl, Sylvie.

Four years later, Bob escapes from prison and sends word that he's coming for Ruth. His plan is complicated by a trio of gunmen pursuing Bob, by his old protector Skerritt (Keith Carradine) warning him away from Ruth, and by Ruth torn between Bob and the attentive Patrick.

Writer-director David Lowery employs a deliberate pace and Bradford Young's gorgeous cinematography to set a tone that's timelessly rustic, if a bit pokey. Among many strong performances, Mara's stands out for its unfussy directness.

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'Ain't Them Bodies Saints'

Opens Friday, Sept. 13, at Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated R for some violence; 96 minutes.