It’s Texas sometime in the 1970s and Ruth Guthrie and Bob Muldoon are in love. But in Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, the passionate, earnest couple cannot stay together. There’s a confrontation with the police, and Bob (Casey Affleck) ends up in prison, while Ruth (Rooney Mara) raises their daughter alone. But Ruth’s quiet life is upended when she gets word that Bob has escaped from prison.
With Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and will be released in theaters on Aug. 16 (and VOD on Aug. 23), director David Lowery crafts a tightly constructed, lyrical portrait of people tied together by love, tragic circumstance, and obligation. And even though there are guns, wounds, threats, and betrayals, Lowery has somehow managed to make nearly every character empathetic. EW spoke with Lowery about the film, his love of Robert Altman, his use of violence in the film, and the state of independent movies. Take a look after the break. WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS.