An art Western that never quite tips the scales toward pretentiousness, this uses the fame of its star, Brad Pitt, to invoke the fame of the legendary robber he plays. It’s a clever gambit, even if it grows self-indulgent the more you think about it. Assassination takes place during the final days of James’ life, when the outlaw’s infamy had spread so wide he had become something of a folk hero – albeit a folk hero with a price on his head. Pitt evokes James’ star power as well as his brutality and paranoia, yet it is Casey Affleck as Ford, the sniveling celebrity-hound who insinuates his way into James’ gang, who steals the show. The picturesque framing by writer-director Andrew Dominik – along with the distinct lack of action, the leisurely pacing and a fairy-tale score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis – makes this less a Western than a moody meditation on the dark side of celebrity status. Apparently fame is not all it’s cracked up to be, whether you’re Brad Pitt or Jesse James.