Monday, March 3, 2008

Review: "No Country for Old Men"

Brad and I got a chance to take in a movie this weekend and chose the academy award winning film, "No Country for Old Men". I have been a long time fan of the Coen brothers, and waited with anticipation to see their new "masterwork", as some critics have declared. I have always enjoyed the mix of thought provoking drama and dark comedy that the Coen's produce. In "No Country", the Coens paint a bleak picture of life in west Texas. The landscape seems to be devoid of color, punctuated only by the occasional pool of blood. The film starts off with a drawling monologue and a long shot panning though the dark desert, strikingly similar to the beginning of one of the Coens' other films, "The Big Lebowski". The cast, almost universally, delivers stellar performances. Javier Bardem brings a casual psychopathy to the serial killer, Anton Chigurh. This is a cattle-gun-toting villain who I will not soon forget, and I am sure to see in my nightmares in the future. Although there were some great performances in this Cormac McCarthy adaptation, I have to admit I was still a bit let down. I think the tone went too dark, even for the Coens. I was also let down by the dialogue, which was at times more dry than a piece of plain toast. I also thought character development, at least in regard to Bardem's character, was lacking. With a villain as devious as Chigurh I would like to know, at least a little bit, about why he is so pathological. Was he hurt in the past? Did he have it out for the drug cartel? Was he once exposed to radiation and sometimes turns into a monster with incredibly bad hair and a penchant for pneumatic weapons? I want to know more, but not enough to keep watching. I give it a B.

2 comments:

John Highstreet said...

Mmmmm...pool of blood....I think I'll have to see this one. I'm generally a big Disney fan, so I guess I'll have to peek through me fingers once and again.

Patrick Roberts said...

no country for old men is unassumingly clever... tons of unexpected plot twists but it never goes over the top. dumbfounding form a moral angle, but that can be a good thing.