Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This'll do till the mess gets here.

Sometimes words get thrown around about certain movies--words like masterpiece and flawless. With No Country for Old Men, however, these are not mere words.

Of course the Coen Brothers are geniuses who are responsible for many of my favorite films, and the novel by Cormac McCarthy is an amazing and powerful work, so I had high hopes going in. High hopes can lead to disappointment. Not in this case though.

The perfect cast features a career-best performance by Josh Brolin, but though he has probably the biggest role, two other actors elevate No Country for Old Men to new heights. First, Tommy Lee Jones has also never been better, and a mere smirk or a smart-ass comment from his sheriff character reveals layers of depth and brilliance. But the show-stealer is Javier Bardem, who plays one of the most evil and heartless, yet charismatic, killers ever to grace the screen.

But though the acting is perfect, the masterful direction by the Coen Brothers makes this a transcendent work of art. It is a testament to their knack for suspense that I was gripping my armrests, even though I had read the novel and knew what was coming. Several scenes left me completely breathless in anticipation. The Coens have never shied away from ultra-violence, and several scenes here might reach the pinnacle of ultra-violence, but even these are directed with skill and finesse. In addition, because they are the Coen Brothers, they have upped the quirky factor a bit from the novel, giving this most vicious of tales the elements of the darkest, darkest humor. This is one of their best films.

But as I said, No Country for Old Men is a transcendent film, which is of course another film review cliché, but sometimes the praise fits. This is no mere good guy/bad guy chase movie. This is a philosophical rumination and a lamentation of the future and many more things which I will be thinking about for weeks to come.

No film will be better this year.


At 8:08 PM, Blogger Deemer posited...

I've heard a lot of chatter about this film. But after reading your post, I think I am extremely interested now in seeing this.

At 11:42 PM, Blogger JB posited...

Wow--those are some awfully bold statements. But I trust in JDub, so I will see this film! One question, though: since I probably won't get to it until winter break, what's your position on reading the book first on this one? Obviously you read it prior to seeing the film, but is that necessary in this case to "get it?"

At 1:23 AM, Blogger Tom posited...

awesome. awesome. when i saw the trailer a while ago, i was really excited for it, then i sort of forgot about it, but now im going to make sure i see it soon.

At 10:44 AM, Blogger constant_k posited...

I'm seeing it tomorrow instead of going to an expensive, awkward dorm formal.

I wholeheartedly support my decision.

At 6:13 PM, Blogger sherlock posited...

I would definitely see it if I didn't have to take a bus some distance... and I still might do that. Glad to hear you liked it.

At 7:30 PM, Blogger constant_k posited...

I saw it and enjoyed it. Not everything seemed to fit together, but I got the sense that there was more going on than I was going to pick up the first time around.

I'd like to read the book. But I am thinking I will read Blood Meridian first.

At 7:47 PM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

What didn't fit together for you?

At 7:59 PM, Blogger constant_k posited...

Well, why was Josh Brolin killed so abruptly? What happened there exactly?

When Tommy Lee went to the darkened house and parked his car outside with the lights shining in and went inside to investigate, was Javier Bardem inside? Why didn't Tommy Lee see/get shot by him?

How did Javier get into the dude with the suit's office (the guy who hired Woody. did we ever get a name from him?) with a silenced shotgun without getting stopped by security?

What happened to the money?

See I think these are mostly details that are in the movie (or were deliberately omitted) and I'm just not understanding them completely.


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