#1  
Old 11-15-2007, 02:15 PM
The Official No Country For Old Men Review Thread

What? No one has posted a review yet? Send 'em in people! Send 'em in! (Please)
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  #2  
Old 11-17-2007, 08:43 PM
No Country for Old Men - 10/10

Holy fucking shit! Those three words basically sum up this film. This is not only the best film of the year, it is one of the best of all time. It is even better than the novel, which is one of my favorite novels of all time. It is intense, chilling, scary, violent, gritty, creepy, funny and suspensful. This movie is scarier than any horrible excuse of a horror film that gets released in hollywood these days. The acting is nothing short of superb, and if Javier Bardem does not win best supporting actor, the world will have offically come to an end. He is flat-out perfect in this film. He is the scariest and most badass villan of all time. I would rather fuck with Hannibal Lecter than Anton Chigurh. He is a relentless ruthless killer that will do absolutely whatever it takes to get what he wants, and anyone in his way is fucking dead, no questions asked. I loved that there was next to no music at all in this film. I think there is one scene where a song plays briefly. The lack of music made the film even more intense and suspensful. And the hotel scene when the lights are turned off is one of the greatest scenes I've seen in a long fucking time. If this film doesn't get oscar recognition, there is something seriously fucking wrong with the academy. This is a classic, the best Coen film ever, one of the best films ever and if you only see one more movie in 2007, make it No Country for Old Men.
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  #3  
Old 11-24-2007, 01:55 AM
I don't know what I love most about this movie. I honestly can't decide among the characters, the performances, the movie's style, its pace, its direction, its ending . . . hell, throw in the beginning as well. This movie grabs you from the start and keeps you mesmerized by everything on the screen until the end.

One of the subtle things I liked about the movie was the fact that there really wasn't anyone to root for; no "good guy" or protagonist in the movie. Josh Brolin is the guy running from the drug dealers and the psycho assassin, but he's kind of a prick throughout the movie. Tommy Lee Jones is the sheriff investigating a drug deal gone bad, and is pursuing Brolin's character but his is more of a supporting role than anything. I found myself kind of cheering for Javier Bardem's crazy-ass killer because he was such a bad ass. I loved every moment he was onscreen; the man and his character had such a presence in the movie. He rarely spoke, but when he did you listened to everything he said. His action spoke volumes as well, considering that he was usually killing somebody, or at least attempting to do so. All three actors had very memorable performances, whether because they were part of the main story or acted as a symbolic part of the movie's message.

The Coen Brothers have delivered another masterpiece (the other being Fargo). There are scenes in this movie that have you gripping your seat, in anticipation, suspense, and even humor. They directed this thing with style; I think they had a lot of input into how the performers acted out their parts, especially Bardem - who stole the show. There's a lot of symbolism and style in the movie and the Coens deserve the credit for how great this movie is.

9/10
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  #4  
Old 12-05-2007, 05:10 PM
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Last edited by jedsmereds; 03-07-2008 at 11:28 AM..
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  #5  
Old 12-06-2007, 01:25 AM
A pretty good solid thriller that unfortunately peters out in the end. The movie is all build up and no payoff. Jones, Brolin and Bardem all give very solid performances and the cat and mouse chase scenes between Brolin and Bardem are wonderfully tense and utterly gripping. The movie is beautifully photographed. It all seems to be building up to a moment that alas just never comes. Most people seem to love the ending though there are some who hate it. Despite my disappointment, I don't actually hate the ending. But it is anticlimatic. Still, I enjoyed No Country for Old Men as a whole. And it ties with Fargo as my favorite Coen brothers movie that I've seen thus far.

7/10
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  #6  
Old 12-23-2007, 09:17 AM

No Country for Old Men (2007)
Directed by: Joel and Ethan Coen
Written by: Joel and Ethan Coen (screenplay); Cormac McCarthy (novel)
Starring: Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson, Kelly Macdonald

It is a rarity for a film to be richly substantial in that same kind of poetry and lyricism one would find within the bowels of a multi-layered novel, let alone one that is helmed by one of the finest scribes of the past century. It is territory that only the great filmmakers have conquered, and in that sense, it would be fair to say that Joel and Ethan Coen have officially raised their flag as some of the finest American storytellers of our time with what may as well be their magnum opus, No Country for Old Men.

It may be considered as Cormac McCarthy’s underlying philosophy that humanity is on the road leading to its self-destruction, and from the film’s opening minutes we become immediately intact with this theory. We hear Tommy Lee Jones, the story’s sole voice of morality, narrating over images of a desolate Texas valley. He reminisces upon how he once sent a fourteen year-old boy to the electric chair, on account of the remorseless, inexplicable murder of another young girl. Times have changed since his predeceasing sheriffs and the rapid explosion of violence is only growing bigger and bigger. The blistering question is then tossed: Is it pure festering evil, undisputable fate, or our own selves that will bring forth our demise? While evil, fate, and the characters’ logic all certainly do take prominent part in the film’s strikingly macabre foray, it remains austere in the fact that in the end we are all doomed, and we can’t stop it from coming.

The plot unfolds very much along the lines of a chain reactive foray, starting off with a single situation that soon erupts into an explosion of doomed mayhem. Llewellyn Moss, finding himself in what may possibly be the most unfortunate situation imaginable, innocently stumbles upon a drug deal gone awry and two million dollars in cash within a desolate valley along the Rio Grande. Llewellyn compulsively takes the money and flees the death-stricken scene, only to soon have unmerciful hordes of drug dealers hot on his trail; among them being Anton Chigurh, a man so remorselessly drenched in malice, he makes Bill the Butcher look like a choir boy.

From the “the hunter vs. the hunted” point of view, Moss and Chigurh are dynamically compatible components, each fighting for their own gain along the lines of their own principles. While Moss’s motives may be questionable in nobility and resonant in greed, his position is empathetic and understandable. Coming from painfully humble origin, the safety of his family and their well-being becomes his top priority. The dream of being well-off in substantial money was one that Moss could never imagine possible, which brings forth no surprise that his actions in his death riddling situation with Chigurh are contrived out of nothing more than pure desperation. Chigurh, while an indisputably ruthless killer, also lives by his own code of morale, no matter how twisted his philosophies may be. As demonstrated in his “life-or-death” calling coin-tosses, he believes that everyone, no matter how rich or poor, was brought into this world in the same, random and unbiased way, and it is only a matter of time before they are taken out in the same fashion. And then there is Sheriff Bell, the sole, fading voice of morality within the picture. Bell is a descendant of law-enforcement built off of the same morale that brought America together, and yet is a becoming a cynical victim of the corrupting ethics and jarring malevolent violence that has erupted over passing generations. Nothing is as it was, the peace and innocence of the years of his ancestors are now long gone, and Bell must change just as the times have changed, for there is no country for old men.

It would be an understatement to say that the Coens have done a great job in adapting McCarthy’s soul-draining novel. The work they have done in adapting a merely unfilmable piece of literary work is nothing shorter than extraordinary, pulling off one admirable feat after another in all spectrums of the filmmaking process. First and foremost there’s the undeniable omnipresence of McCarthy’s essence, suffused with the most unbearable tension and suspense, equally coincided with a deeply quiet and ponderous sense of meditation upon our own humanity. The screenplay, along with its entire translation to the screen, is also quite unprecedented, as each and every description written by McCarthy is fastidiously calculated into frames of almost equally subliminal justice, not to mention the absolutely ingenious idea of crafting the film with the utilization of no music at all, a decision that perfectly ignites the jarringly macabre essence of the story itself.

The acting is truly something of a spellbinder as well. Everyone from Josh Brolin, to Tommy Lee Jones, to Javier Bardem all embody their characters to such ballasting extents. 2007 has definitely proven to be quite a year for Brolin, and after proving himself worthy of mainstream and commercial spotlight again with such features as Grindhouse and American Gangster, with No Country for Old Men, he has now fulfilled a full-fledged comeback as he shows off tremendous acting talent, whetted by utmost naturalism. The supporting roles shine even brighter with the awe-inspiring, scene-stealing work of Bardem and the more contemplative wisdom of Jones. Everyone is at the top of their game with bravura performance, and it would be an absolute sin from the Academy if not one of these actors takes home a single golden statue come Oscar night.

All in all, No Country for Old Men is nothing shorter than an unprecedented revelation in filmmaking. Each character is dynamically carved into three-dimensions with a nuanced chisel, each shot is riddled with meaning, and each scene is yet another passionately gestated and crafted piece of work by two of the most prominent artists and storytellers in literature and filmmaking. It’s tense, provocative, grim, macabre, unbearably suspenseful, contemplative, and a pure American masterpiece done by some of the best in the business.

RATING: 9.5/10

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  #7  
Old 12-26-2007, 04:42 PM
This, Gone Baby Gone and Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford are my most hyped movies of the year, No Country by far exceeding the other two. It comes out down here soon, and once its out, that mother fucker will be watched.
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  #8  
Old 12-31-2007, 10:50 PM
Sorry for the double post, but it's been days since I posted that above.
---

No Country for Old Men
Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon some dead bodies, a stash of heroin and more than $2 million in cash near the Rio Grande.

Don't put it in your pocket, sir. Don't put it in your pocket. It's your lucky quarter.

This in my opinion overtakes the hype this movie has generated, before watching this movie I read only one review and just heard from people how AWESOME this movie was, once I heard that and read what it was about I refused to look at any comments on the movie, if I saw an image from the movie I'd look away, I didn't want ANYTHING to spoil this movie, I really wanted to enjoy it. So I was sheltered from the ridiculous accusations that the films ending was bad. I assure you, it is not bad, it is GREAT. As long as you pay attention to the movie instead of your phone or the delicious looking food your friend has decided to unload his wallet to get.

There is absolutely no denying it that the Coen Brothers are geniuses, the plot seems to follow a similar fashion as their others, someones finds/plans something and then shit really hits the fan. But this one beats all their past achievements. Quite a lot of people praise Fargo, which to be honest in my opinion is overrated, but it isn't bad, I see what people like about it, but it just felt like nothing amazing, but anyway I'm being sidetracked. I haven't read the original book, No Country for Old Men, but I have heard a lot of what is in the book is word for word in the movie, as well as the movie leaves some things out, which makes me sad they didn't keep them in. If they kept some of the things from the book in the movie than I think this movie would have an even larger fan base because then the people who go to movies just to focus their eyes on something can understand the seemingly simple ending, but writing in this movie was AMAZING, Anton was too cool of a character . The Coen brothers really hit the jackpot here, making an absolute MASTERPIECE. This has made me a huge fan and I cannot look more forward to their future movies.


Javier Bardem plays Anton the ruthless man hunting Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin). Anton was EASILY the best character in this movie, the way he talked was intelligent and amazing. He was just a tough guy, he had brain as well. And there is no denying the two weapons he used were just so cool. A silenced rifle (so I assume judging from the amount bullet holes it left) and.. well a oxygen tank? Was that what it was? Who knows, it was amazing. As well, he turn coin tossing (in movies) from a lame thing Tommy Lee Jones showed in the Batman he was in into something cool, that has left me repeating "Call it, CALL IT" in my head since watching the movie.


Josh Brolin plays Llewelyn Moss, the man who stumbles among 2 million dollars, the focus of the story. He too was quite a smart chap which is shown in many different ways, he doesn't weild any amazing weapons, but he is as badass as Anton, his character was very well presented in this movie, and Josh Brolin shows us he is very talented, as well, I think this may be the movie that really makes him into a somebody. I sure hope it does.

Woody Harrelson quite suprised me in this film, in other films I have REALLY disliked him. But in this, his character was cool, and he actually acted well. Tommy Lee Jones did a VERY GOOD job, but I expected no less, I am a fan of Jones, and his performance in The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada was what mainly got me hyped for this terrific film.

There is NO denying it the cinemtagrophy was absolutely amazing, the locations were beautiful. Another key thing that helped bring a good feel to the film.

The ending, now this has been bombarded with bad comments, but as I said, pay attention and you will not have a problem. I'll some this up short, this movie was VERY GOOD pretty damn close to perfect, surpassed my expectations. 9/10
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  #9  
Old 01-01-2008, 08:39 PM
I'm no film student. I watch movies to be entertained, most of the time i dont see a film as a piece of "art." I dont really see the hype here. I mean, it's a good movie, believe me, but ask me next year about it and all I'll probably tell you is..."damn, that villian was awesome."

I did not give 2 craps about Tommy Lee Jones, and his whole dillema. I know people comment the Coen's for thier handling of Moss' death, but that was lame to me. Killing one of the main characters off screen to me just wasnt "genius," like everyone else seems to think it was.

As far as the ending, look i dont need a shoot em up type deal, but come on, that was boring as hell.

6.5/10. And the main reason i like this movie is because Chigurh is one of the greatest villians ive ever seen on screen, his weapons were sick, his acting was great and his whole look was just....i dont know, right. The rest of the move though to me, nothing amazing.
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  #10  
Old 01-04-2008, 05:43 PM


(Joel & Ethan Coen, 2007)

After a couple of near misses and a small break, it’s good to see that the Coens are back. That isn’t to say that their last two movies were total failures: Intolerable Cruelty was side-splittingly hilarious, featured some of the sharpest, whip-crack quickest and wittiest dialogue of the Coen’s career, and was generally a classic Coens movie with a much lighter tone than what we were used to from them; and The Ladykillers, while still retaining some classic Coen overtones, themes and trademarks, was ultimately a disappointment and their weakest work. But now, three years later, they return at the top of their form with No Country for Old Men, like their two previous and weaker films based on the writing of others, but unlike those films, truly and undisputedly a masterpiece of modern cinema; it may just be the best film of the Coen’s entire career.

It is absolutely astonishing to see just on how many levels this film operates. The Coens were truly firing on all cylinders while making this opus, utilizing practically every cinematic element, dramatic technique, theme and concept they’ve featured in their prominent filmography prior to this film, which contains classic after classic. The true sign of a career’s magnum opus is when all of the themes and ideas the auteur has previously explored come together in magnificent closure, and such is the case with this film. The whole initial premise of a simple event gone horribly wrong and leading to disastrous results has been a favourite subject of the Coens since their 1984 debut, Blood Simple, and continuing on through such masterpieces as Miller’s Crossing, Fargo (the Coen’s twin peak, their previous masterpiece and probably the clearest and most present companion piece to No Country), and of course, The Big Lebowski. Allegorical issues of life and death have been previously dealt with in Barton Fink and The Man Who Wasn’t There. Many of the Coen’s films have been set in the American South or Midwest, such as Raising Arizona, Fargo of course, and O Brother, Where Art Thou?, with the directorial duo utilizing the mannerisms and dialects of the locals to perfectly tuned comic effect. The film can also easily be viewed as a modern day film-noir, a “neo-noir” if you will; noir being a particular favourite subject of the brothers, as evident in Blood Simple, Miller’s Crossing, Fargo, The Man Who Wasn’t There, and even The Big Lebowski. Style aside, another major component of films-noir are characters that get accidentally mixed up in something that is way over their heads, often leading to tragic results. All of these elements and more are front and center stage in No Country for Old Men.

The film represents a downright uncanny application of cinematic craft on the Coen’s part. They deliver storytelling in its most flawless, raw, visceral form, and indeed the film has quite the incredible story to tell, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy (which I have intentionally put off reading in order to enjoy the film to the fullest, although I fully intend to seek it out now – by the way, if anybody hasn’t read McCarthy’s Pulitzer-Prize winning novel “The Road”, do so now). But the Coens have long before transcended telling a mere plot. The film provides its best storytelling when there is no dialogue. Notice with what utter grace and absolute perfection the Coens create tension and drama. From the first moment he appears on screen, we are scared petrified of the Anton Chigurh character, and the Coens have calculated the introduction of his appearance and mannerisms so that every time he merely walks onto the screen, we get chills down our spine. Behold probably the most amazingly directed sequence of any film this year, which involves Llewelyn Moss sitting in his motel room and hearing what are clearly Chigurh’s footsteps coming down the hall, until his shadow appears under the crack of the door. But if only that were all – Chigurh continues to turn off the light, drenching the scene in pitch-darkness. No other scene in any other film this year has more effortlessly created tension and true, primal fear within me as a viewer. And the scene continues, as Llewelyn apprehends a vehicle, immediately after which the windshield begins to shatter from Chigurh’s shots that are being fired from who knows where, which further elevates the pressure. One of the scariest scenes in any film this year cannot be found in The Mist, or in 1408, or in any of the shock-horror pictures put out, but rather can be found right near the beginning of No Country, as the Chigurh character enters a small gas station shop and manages, without doing much at all besides playing an almost-too-calm word game with the teller, to obstinately petrify and terrorize us. I don’t think a screen character has ever been depicted as more nervous than that of the store clerk in the scene in question. It is precisely these characters, such as that of the store clerk or the overweight landlady at the trailer park, that make this film so unmistakably Coen. Their mannerisms and way of talking, while not meant to be comic, are presented in an almost comic fashion. It is that unique Coen sense of humour, in which they turn the nerve-racking edginess and anxiety in the gas station scene with Chigurh into a comic moment. The Coens have an uncanny ability to create comedy simply out of the absurdity of the situation. Not a word is wasted, and every strand of dialogue, every line and passage, is absolutely and entirely pitch-perfect; it is an incredible, extraordinary screenplay.

But it’s not just their direction and writing that makes the film so effective. The Coens utilize every cinematic technique in the book to enhance their storytelling to utmost perfection. Cinematographer Roger Deakins, a longtime collaborator of the Coens and easily one of the best cinematographers working today, utilizes the desert landscape the film is set in to the utmost advantage; indeed I believe the only better desert-shot work of his (and he’s done plenty of it) was featured in the underrated Sam Mendes-directed Jarhead a couple of years ago. Much like in his (Oscar-snubbed) cinematography for Fargo, the stark, barren emptiness and endless reaches of the desert (or, in Fargo’s case, snow-covered) landscape emphasizes the characters’ isolation – isolation from morals, from logic, from caring. And if the stark austerity of the wide-open, sunburnt desert characterizes the first half of the film, the second half can be characterized as far more claustrophobic. Our characters spend much time in dark hotel rooms, lit only by dim lights entering through the curtains, splashing them in a spider-web of light and dark, perhaps emphasizing the moral ambiguity, or the characters’ shattered state of existence. The film is edited to pitch-perfection; the Coens also edited the film (under the pseudonym Roderick Jaynes, utilizing the same technique of disguise that allows Steven Soderbergh to get away with shooting and editing his own films as well), which results in even further effectiveness of their directorial efforts to create drama and tension. They know just what shots to linger on, just what to keep off screen, just when to cut away. Just how genius a decision it was to include a shot of Chigurh sitting in the darkened motel room as Sheriff Bell is about to open the door and eventually enters. Is Chugurh really in the room? Or was this just a projection of what was going through Sheriff Bell’s mind? Absolute brilliance. Everything down to the sound design of the film is fine-tuned to utmost effectiveness; notice, for example, in the aforementioned motel room scene, how when Llewelyn calls the front desk, you can faintly hear the telephone ringing outside the door and down the hall. At the end of the day, the Coens combine everything from the broad cinematic brushstrokes such as the writing, the cinematography, and the editing, and right down to the smallest details in the sound design, and use them all to create a truly remarkable work of cinematic genius.

As always expected from Coen films, the acting is the best it can possibly be. It is great to see that despite initial reservations on their part, eventually they went with casting Josh Brolin in the film; he has had truly a breakthrough year with roles in Grindhouse, In The Valley of Elah, a brilliant turn in American Gangster and an even more brilliant, Oscar-worthy performance in No Country: it is the unmistakable sign of immense talent and a prosperous career, Brolin truly commands the screen and his character. Although he may seem sinister, and indeed plays villains in two of the other films mentioned, in No Country he manages to transform this villainy into a the kind hard-knocked, robust qualities a young man like him needs to survive in the rural landscape he has chosen as a home. Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald, sporting a flawless Texan drawl, manages to find incredible depth in her relatively limited character as Llewelyn’s wife, and Woody Harrelson will be Woody Harrelson, as always. But the film’s most vigorous performances come from its two veterans, Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem. It is easy to say that Bardem, as the fearless Anton Chigurh, commandeers and dominates the film; his performance is so unbelievably raw, menacing, visceral and downright terrifying that his mere appearance on screen fills us with dread. It is a scene-stealing performance if ever a show more deserving of the word, and in it, Bardem creates what will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the most memorable, dominating screen villains of all time. And Tommy Lee Jones, the most experienced of the major cast, delivers in Sheriff Ed Tom Bell a performance that is so incredibly perfect it immediately reminds you just how good an actor he is. He’s always had wonderful roles but in recent years has been more downplayed. But here he is in full force, and one can’t help but to think how the Coens haven’t cast him in a role before; Jones is, in my mind, a perfect addition to the Coens’ acting troupe, and I actually hope to see them put him in some future comedy they may cook up eventually. It is a marvelous show of characters; mannerisms, quirks, flaws, glances, and the ensemble cast does such an incredible, fantastic job.

So what is our story even about? Is it about Llewelyn Moss, a simple, young man who accidentally and almost innocently gets mixed up in a complicated scheme involving the wrong people? It may seem so at first; although our film opens with a scathing, beautiful voice-over monologue delivered by Tommy Lee Jones’ Sheriff Ed Tom Bell character, the plot quickly moves to a chronicle of the trials of Llewelyn, him finding a satchel filled with $2 million in cash, and the cold-blooded, ruthless assassin Anton Chigurh’s relentless, blood-soaked mission to retrieve his employer’s investment, hunting Moss down from motel to motel. But as the final quarter or so of the film comes to a close, we quickly realize that the story may not have intended to have our focus on Llewelyn after all, but rather on Sheriff Bell – it is interesting to note that the Coens have previously utilized this technique of changing the point of view and not making it clear who the protagonist is in another of their films, Fargo, in which she who turns out to be the main character, Marge Gunderson, is only introduced to us halfway through the film. As he sits and describes a pair of dreams he has to his wife at the end of the film, it dawns upon us that the title of the film refers not to the escapades of the younger characters Llewelyn and Chigurh, but rather the older characters, specifically the trials of Sheriff Bell and his inability to accept what the world has become. He has seen how crime and violence has taken away his father, also a lawman. And he remembers his younger days when crime fighting seemed exciting and invigorating. But now, during the golden years of his life, his only response to violence is a sneer, cynical laugh – notice his stoic, almost bored reaction to the story he reads from the newspaper while sitting in the diner about two thirds into the film, as opposed to the emotionally-charged reaction of his much younger depute. All this mindless violence, this inexplicable evil surrounding him… it is indeed no country for old men. These issues are for the younger at heart.

Or perhaps the Coens intended us to go even further and view the story as an allegory. Llewelyn and his wife represent youth; juvenile, ambitious, with grand dreams in their eyes and a feeling that if they work hard enough they will be able to escape the hardships, the harsh realities that rain down upon our lives – represented in the film by the psychopathic hired killer, Chigurh. Sheriff Bell represents the central theme of the story, and is at a time in his life when he looks back in remorse on the youth he wasted. He has already acknowledged that there is no escape from Chigurh, or in other words, no escape from the unavoidable hardships reality fills our lives with. He is cynical and indifferent, but still naďve enough to think that he can save Llewelyn and his wife from the inevitable fates that lie in store for them at the hands of Chigurh. But at the end, Ellis, his uncle in the wheelchair provides the final voice of reason for Bell. “You can’t stop what’s coming,” he explains to his nephew: “It ain’t all waiting on you. That’s vanity.” This is the final straw that breaks the camel’s back and leads to Bell’s depressing ultimate revelation that life and reality will inevitably fill our lives with difficulty and suffering, no matter how hard one tries to escape from this inevitable fate.

At first it seemed like the new millennium was not Joel and Ethan Coen’s place. They absolutely dominated the 90’s with their classic films ranging from noirs to cynical dramas to outright comedies; sure they still managed to create O Brother, Where Art Thou? and The Man Who Wasn’t There, not their greatest works but definitely fine pictures, but after that fell into obscurity and seemed to almost “lose their touch”. Luckily for us, now, near the end of the 2000’s, they have returned to form in more ways than one, and have created a film which is not only a masterpiece of their superb body of work, but also without a doubt one of the greatest motion pictures of the decade, maybe more. The Coens had previously reached a creative peak with Fargo, but No Country for Old Men serves as a new high for the directorial duo, and if Michelangelo can have both the Sistine Chapel and his statue of David, then surely the Coens are entitled to their two masterpieces; the classic Fargo and the modern No Country. The pieces can be further viewed as companions due to their striking similarities in terms of themes, setting and visuals; both featuring stark, horizon-reaching landscapes, regular-guy characters who get mixed up with the very wrong people, and police officers as the moral cores of the film and ultimately the central subject matter. But if Fargo delivered a more uplifting moral closure with the story of Marge Gunderson, No Country for Old Men is far more pessimistic, delivering a scathing life lesson in the depressing closure to Ed Tom Bell’s tale. As in all of their films, No Country also features that very specifically Coen brothers sense of humour, which can turn even a dark and menacing dramatic thriller into a comedy by playing off the ridiculousness of the characters and the situations they get themselves into. The film also serves as a stunning, remarkable application of cinematic craft, featuring absolutely stupefying direction, cinematography, editing, production value and everything in between. Working from an utterly brilliant screenplay from the Coens, the actors deliver unnerving, compelling, show-stealing performances, in particular Tommy Lee Jones as the scarred old timer for whom this violent country is certainly no place; Josh Brolin in a brilliant lead-role debut as the naďve average Joe who gets mixed in way over his head with unstoppable forces of nature; and Javier Bardem, as the ruthless, terrifying, primeval villain and embodiment of pure evil. It is a striking, epic, complex, many-leveled work of seething bleakness and stunning desolation, delivering an all-around depressing moral and human outcome. It is a movie that lives and breathes through its fascinating characters, its visceral settings, its striking visuals. It is the best film of the year, and an astounding, incredible cinematic achievement on all possible planes. The Coens have truly outdone themselves and have finally sealed their spot as one of if not the most important modern-day cinematic auteurs. May we see only work like this from them in the future – a masterpiece if I’ve ever seen one.

RATING: 10/10.
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  #11  
Old 01-14-2008, 05:06 PM
fucking amazing, is all i have to say
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  #12  
Old 11-02-2008, 01:50 PM
It seemed unlikely that anyone would be able to capture the poetic cadence of Southern writer Cormac McCarthy in a way that would reflect the brilliance of his prose in a striking manner. It had been attempted once before with "All the Pretty Horses", an effort that definitely left much to be desired. Enter the Coen Brothers, the mad geniuses of independent cinema who have a flair for bizarre humor McCarthy shares himself. However, this is definitely not a movie in the vein of "Fargo", certainly isn't in the same family as "The Big Lebowski", and it shares almost nothing in common with "Raising Arizona", save for maybe elements of the setting. This is a modern horror story, and one that seems only the Coens could tell on film correctly.
The film is the story of an otherwise decent man Llewelyn (Josh Brolin), who discovers a money-filled briefcase left among a group of murdered Hispanics in his rural town. Though he is a typically moral and honest man, he decides to take the briefcase for his own personal gain. This spurs a chilling and uncaring serial killer named Anton Chigurt (Javier Bardem, in what was easily my favorite performance of the year) to hunt him down, believing he is the rightful owner of the money. In the middle of the debacle is a weathered and tired sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) trying to make sense of the entire situation.
It is hard to resist using hyperbole for a film like this, as it truly is a masterpiece film. Bardem in particular, is iconic in his role as Anton Chigurt. The way in which he stalks Llewelyn, relentless and calculating with his silencer-equipped shot gun and air-compressed stun gun in tow makes him the picture of horror. The scene where he is questioning the owner of a convenience store is likely one of the best scenes in a film in 2007. The tension is so palatable you can almost taste the fear and nervousness. Tommy Lee Jones also proves why he is one of the most criminally underrated actors working today. His laconic, smart-ass delivery in this film is one of my favorite roles hes done in recent years, and I actually think he is a perfect fit in the Coen Brothers style of film.
I've heard a number of faithful Coen Brothers supporters saying they didn't know how to feel when it came to this film. I say, feel glad that the Coens can not only step out of their usual style of film, but also do so with just as much artistic integrity and innovation as they've shown in their best previous efforts. Though I was glad to see them return to comedic form with "Burn After Reading", I was overjoyed to see them excel with this style of film as well.

10/10
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