So many films today seem to carry the same references to earlier work, indicating the influences that shaped the filmmaker in his work.
But references are one thing; using those references for fresh inspiration is something else, and that's what David Lowery has done with Ain't Them Bodies Saints.
Drawing from influences ranging from Terrence Malick's Badlands to Robert Altman's Mc Cabe and Mrs. Miller, to Bonnie & Clyde and Carl Franklin's One False Move, Lowery's film is essentially what would be the finale of most other films. It's one long, slow build, dropping in on desperate characters at particularly volatile moments to see what happens.
There's just the barest nod to backstory. When we first encounter Ruth Guthrie (Rooney Mara) and Bob Muldoon (Casey Affleck) in Texas in the early 1970s, they're having a spat over a misunderstanding of something he said. She finally buys his professions of love, then confesses that they're going to be parents.
Then they go someplace with a gun. Then we see police chasing them to an old farm house; after a brief shootout, we watch their eventual capture.
And that's just the first 10 minutes.
This review continues on my website.