Assassinated By: Robert Ford
Cause of Death: Gunshot to the back of the head
There's never any mystery as to where The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford is heading—it's right there in the movie's title. So it's a testament to director Andrew Dominik and actors Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, and Sam Rockwell that the inevitable murder is so damn impressive.
Credit is also due to the score's composers, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, because solemn piano notes heard within the sequence enhance the overall effect. Dominik draws out the Ford brothers' (Affleck and Rockwell) double-cross, playing the moment as James' (Pitt) own personal stroll down an imaginary green mile. Pitt handles it perfectly; James knows what's about to happen, and he's ready, though there's still a hint of sadness. Meanwhile, the Fords are on the verge of tears. The scene is intensely somber, culminating in a rather violent slug to the head.
Of course, the real-life killing of James back in 1882 most likely didn't happen as psychoanalytically as it does in Dominik's outstanding film. And James didn't get to wipe off fake blood and go home to a hottie like Angelina Jolie, either. But, hey, those are the breaks.