I’m a pretty big Coen brothers fan. I haven’t liked all of their movies, but I consider Millers Crossing, Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski, Blood Simple, and Fargo to be some of the greatest films made in the last 25 years. No Country for Old Men shares more in common with Fargo and Blood Simple than the others that I mentioned. It has elements of both southern gothic and film noir. It’s incredibly tense and probably their most violent film. The performances from the lead actors and supporting cast are excellent across the board. There’s some gallows humor to be found, but not much. This is definitely not the feel good movie of the year. That being said, I highly recommend seeing it. It deserves the buzz that I’ve been hearing about it. The fact that we talked about it for a couple of hours after and that I’m still revisiting scenes in my head almost a day later is a testament to the film’s power.
I’ll leave plot points and summaries to the pros, but I’ll say a few things about the performances. The Anton Chigurh character reminds me of The Misfit from Flannery O Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find. He takes on mythical proportions by the end of the story, a metaphor or the worst evil that you can imagine in the world. Javier Bardem, who hasn’t acted in very many American films is amazing and Tommy Lee Jone is pitch perfect as the world weary law man who feels he’s overmatched by Chigurh’s evil.
I’ve got a practice of not reading reviews of films before I see them. I don’t like to have any preconceived notions if I can help it. I read three reviews after seeing it: Marjorie Baumgarten, Roger Ebert and Kenneth Turan. I agreed mostly with Turan. I think Ebert missed part of the movie because the plot hole he describes is explained. I do agree with him though that many of the scenes are so flawlessly constructed that you never want them to end. I felt that way at many points in the story. I did feel that the ending was a bit abrupt and is one of the only flaws. Maybe because I didn’t want it to end, I’d find fault with any ending they chose.
[tags]movie, review, coenbrothers, joelcoen, ethancoen, tommyleejones, javierbardem, nocountryforoldmen[/tags]