Analog Thoughts on a Digital Age

Friday, February 01, 2008

Movie Review: "No Country for Old Men" (2007)

It’s happened to you before. You go and watch a movie. After it's done, you get out confused. You ponder as to what it meant, why they made it like that. You walk home, you ponder more. You figure it out. Then it becomes one of your favorite movies. It happened to me couple of times. It happened to me when I saw Pulp Fiction. It happened again when I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey. Before Sunset. For No Country for Old Men, it happened to me again.

No Country for Old Men is written and directed for the screen by the Coen Brothers (Raising Arizona, Fargo, The Big Lebowsky) adapted from a novel by Cormac McCarthy. the story is about a Texan Vietnam veteran (Josh Brolin) who finds 2 million dollars in cash in a duffel bag in the middle of a blood spattered, body strewn failed drug exchange rendezvous in the middle of the desert. A she runs, a bounty hunter(Javier Bardem) seeks him out and virtually kills anyone who gets in his way. In the middle of it all is an aging sheriff(Tommy lee Jones) who makes sure that these two who are in his small town are brought to justice. What we get is an exciting cat and mouse chase without the frills and effects, just pure intelligent filmmaking, but we also get a philosophical look at life and how it treats us despite our best efforts.

This is officially may favorite movie in the group (and I love the other movies too). very rarely do we get to see a movie that doesn't feel like it was made in 2007. With characters who are as rich as they are well-defined. Not a line of dialogue is a wasted sound byte. Everybody in the small cast shone in his own way.

But one shone above the others. Javier Bardem's character Anton Chigurh is probably the best conceived character in film in the past few years. Chigurh is a badass. He makes Jack Bauer look like baby poo. He is evil personified. A calm, charismatic presence that is both enchanting and frightening. If this movie were released in the summer, you would see dozens of people dressed as Chigurh on Halloween. There is a scene where he tells a sales clerk at a store to call a coin-toss he just made. the clerk is puzzled as to what it was for, but we all know, based on the past few scenes, that the clerk's life was at stake. So he had everything to gain, and at the same time, everything to lose. So many sites in the Internet have been dedicated to explaining how his mind works, what his concept of free will is, and so forth. There is so much more going on in this character than just a ruthless hit man with a pneumatic tool for a weapon.

One of the most controversial aspects of this film is its "ending". This is what puzzled me when I first saw it. Anyone would be. I can’t even imagine how audiences would react to the ending if it were shown here. In some articles I had read that some people just stood up and cussed at the projector guy. I later read in some reliable review sites that it was meant to be that way to emphasize on an aspect of the movie not closely attended to by the audience, the philosophical side of the film, because we were so caught up in the cat and mouse chase. Anyways, I know it probably doesn’t t make sense to you who have not seen it, you just need to watch it. And I highly recommend that you do.

Rocketboy's Rating: 5 out of 5


Anonymous patrick said...

just saw no country for old men; it's unassumingly unconventional and yet (thankfully) never over the top. the Coen brothers deserve their oscars, well done indeed.

4:26 AM


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