DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews
 
FRANK AND JESSE (director/writer: Robert Boris; cinematographer: Walt Lloyd; editor: Christopher Greenbury; music: Mark McKenzie; cast: Rob Lowe (Jesse James), Bill Paxton (Frank James), Randy Travis (Cole Younger), William Atherton (Allan Pinkerton), Dana Wheeler Nicholson (Annie James), Nick Sadler (Arch Clements), Dennis Letts (Railroad C.E.O.), Alexis Arquette (Charlie Ford), Todd Field (Bob Younger), John Piper-Ferguson (Clell Miller), Maria Pitilo (Zee), Luke Askew (Lone Rider); Runtime: 108; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Elliott Kastner/Cassian Elwes; Lionsgate/Trimark Pictires; 1995)

"A poor by-the-numbers version of a James Brothers western."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A poor by-the-numbers version of a James Brothers western. Writer-director Robert Boris ("Oxford Blues"/"Backyard Dogs") tells the familiar story of the southern outlaw brothers Frank (Bill Paxton) and Jesse James (Rob Lowe) in post-Civil War Missouri and Kansas. He keeps the James Brothers as popular and sympathetic figures, who were the victims of an unfair society created by the Yankee victors.

Four years after the Civil War, the Reb soldiers Frank and younger brother Jesse return to their family ranch in rural Missouri. When a crazed assassin agent (Luke Askew) kills the patriarch and youngest James brother and burns down their ranch for refusing to sell cheaply to the Chicago railroad. The brothers vow to get even with the railroad who hired this madmen and the assassin. After Jesse guns down the assassin, the wanted brothers reunite with their old gang to rob banks owned by the railroad, stagecoaches carrying their money and their trains. The railroad head (Dennis Letts) hires the arrogant Pinkerton head, Allan Pinkerton (
William Atherton), to get the James gang. He relentlessly pursues them to no avail until he gets the cowardly Charlie Ford (Alexis Arquette) to shoot Jesse in the back in his home. Later Frank gives up, but is not convicted.

The revisionist Western adds nothing new to the legendary story, but is flatly drawn out, the acting is below average (the brothers are both depicted as bores) and the action scenes are unconvincing.

EVIEWED ON 6/22/2018       GRADE: C-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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