In ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,’ Affleck is a Texas outlaw

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Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

With “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” writer-director David Lowery has set out to make a precise, self-conscious -- and often staggeringly beautiful -- emulation of the ’70s work of Robert Altman and Terence Malick, specifically the former’s “Thieves Like Us” (1974) and the latter’s “Days of Heaven” (1978). If you’re going to evoke another filmmaker’s style, you might as well aim high.

Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara play a Depression-era outlaw couple; Ben Foster is the sad-eyed deputy sheriff who loves Mara. The characters are too ordinary to care deeply for and the story doesn’t add up to much, but Lowery has made a shrine to his actors, to the land through which they move, and to the kind of cinema that once sustained us.

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