25 Independent Movies You Should Be Excited About in 2013

Ain't Them Bodies Saints

Director: David Lowery
Stars: Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Nate Parker, Keith Carradine
Release date: To be determined

Every year at the Sundance Film Festival, one film emerges as the clear critical darling and, more often than not, goes on to become a major contender in the forthcoming awards season. In 2012, it was Beasts of the Southern Wild; this year, a serious contender for such distinction is Ain't Them Bodies Saints, a Malick-esque meditation of love, betrayal, and regret from fresh-voiced filmmaker David Lowery.

The cast hums with greatness. Academy Award nominees Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James By That Coward Robert Ford) star as lovers who are forever running afoul of the law—until the authorities catch them and send Affleck's character, Bob, to prison. After four years in the clink, he escapes and sets out to reunite with Ruth and their infant daughter.

It sounds like Bonnie and Clyde without the (by now) played-out commentary on celebrity. If the game's top film critics are to be believed, it's an emotional powerhouse.

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