Rooney-Mara-and-Casey-Affleck-in-Aint-Them-Bodies-SaintsDebuting at Sundance this year, and coming away with two awards to its name, David Lowery’s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints has been on our must-watch list for some time now.

Led by Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, and Ben Foster, the film earned very promising early praise coming out of Utah in January, and is receiving a special critics’ screening at Cannes this month. And with its August release date not far off on the horizon, the first clip has debuted over on EW, giving us a look at an interaction between Affleck and Mara’s characters.

Bob Muldoon and Ruth Guthrie, an impassioned young outlaw couple on an extended crime spree, are finally apprehended by lawmen after a shootout in the Texas hills. Although Ruth wounds a local officer, Bob takes the blame. But four years later, Bob escapes from prison and sets out to find Ruth and their daughter, born during his incarceration.

The barren landscapes of David Lowery’s poetic feature evoke the mythology of westerns and saturate the dramatic space with fatalism and an aching sense of loss. Aided by powerfully restrained performances by Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, and Ben Foster, Lowery incorporates an unnerving tension into the film, teetering it at the edge of violence.

Nate Parker and Keith Carradine complete the cast alongside Affleck, Mara, and Foster, with David Lowery directing from his own script.

The early reviews out of Utah have been incredibly praising of Lowery’s film and its leading three performances. And whilst its late-summer release date isn’t typical of Oscar contenders, there’s already plenty of buzz surrounding this one to view it as a contender come awards season later this year. At the very least, I think it’s a strong candidate in the slew of independent film awards, and the Academy could well come knocking.

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is set to be released in the US on August 16th, and is certainly shaping up to be a must-see film of the year. No word yet on a UK release date, but I’m hoping that that will be changing soon. (And also that IFC will be releasing an HD version of the video; apologies for the quality below.)