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A young criminal couple kill a cop; he takes the rap and gets jailed, although she pulled the trigger.
With echoes of early Malick and Altman, thus begins writer-director Lowery’s affecting 1970s-set deconstruction of classic westerns. Affleck plays Bob, whose attempts to escape eventually succeed in reuniting him with Ruthie (Mara) and the daughter she had after his arrest.
But while taking shelter with the mysterious Skerritt (Keith Carradine), Ruthie has also attracted the ambiguous attentions of Sherriff Wheeler (Foster). Her uneasy reunion with Bob involves all of these players as well as two malevolent strangers in a dramatic, violent climax.
Lyrical yet unsentimental, AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS richly deserved its two Sundance awards