April 12, 2013 at 04:00 AM EDT

An escaped convict (Casey Affleck) tears across Texas to reunite with his wife and former accomplice (Rooney Mara), whose Bonnie-and-Clyde days seem far behind her. Despite some shoot-’em-up scenes, director David Lowery’s Sundance darling mostly showcases the subtle performances of its stars. ”Rooney smiled three times during the entire production — never in my direction, but I caught the afterglow on some other people’s faces,” Affleck says with a chuckle. But that’s not a criticism; there’s little need for smiles in a Western this gritty anyway.

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