NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
Ethan & Joel Coen
Tommy Lee Jones
What's it about
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.
Is it good movie?
I've watched No Country For Old Men twice now, and I can sufficiently say that it deserves the praise it has been getting, although I can't put my finger on exactly why that is. There are critics like me, who can tell you why they enjoyed/disliked a film and what they liked/disliked about it. Then there are critics who absolutely dissect films down to their very core and tout the intricacies of the filmmaking process. Most of the time, I'm glad to keep it simple, and for those of you who want to hear a scientific review about how the 3/4 lens shot was used masterfully should really head elsewhere.
Anyway, enough about the erudite film critics let us get to the business at hand. To be honest, No Country For Old Men is really a pot boiling film that will have you at the edge of your seat the entire time. The essential plot is simple, in fact this is a film that doesn't rely on details, and so if you absolutely have to have everything tied up by the end of your movie, you really need to look elsewhere. The Coen brothers have crafted a very realistic look into our society- a sad, depraved society where people are constantly searching for the next thing to satisfy their own urges.
The main portion of the film deals with the chase, as depraved individual Anton Chigurh is searching for money that has gone missing from a deal gone very wrong. The man who has it is Josh Brolin, who plays down on his luck Llewelyn Moss, a man who believed he was in the right place at the right time. This is a long, detailed, tense and terrifying game of cat and mouse between these two and you won't believe what these men go through to get what they want.
Javier Bardem is the main reason to watch this film. My God, the man simply radiates on screen and it is impossible to take your eyes off of him. His character is cold, cynical and ruthless, a man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Look at his weapon, which you'll see early on in the film- it reflects exactly how he feels about people. He will kill anyone in his path and not think twice, his only mercy being a potential coin flip. If you want to get a good idea about his character, watch the scene where Anton goes into an old gas station to pay for gas. His dialogue with the clerk really encompasses everything about this film. It is a masterfully written and beautifully shot picture. The lack of score in many scenes adds to the realism and makes things even more atmospheric than they would have been with a full orchestra.
Also worth mentioning are the other performances in this film: Tommy Lee Jones' broken sheriff could not have been played by anyone else. Kelly Macdonald's Carla Jean Moss is truly realistic, and even Woody Harrelson turns in a great turn as Carson Wells, a third party after the money.
I don't want to give a lot of this film away. If you haven't seen it, make sure you do. This film is a truly interesting character study that will undoubtedly chill you and disgust you. The ending will definitely leave you with questions to ponder with friends, and let's face it; any movie that gets you debating with friends deserves your attention.
Video / Audio
The video here looks grand: 2:35:1 Widescreen, pretty near perfect.
Sound is also very sharp, perfectly mixed in Dolby 5.1
We get Working with the Coens: Reflections of Cast and Crew, which is a short little featurette where the cast really pats the Coens on the back and say how great it is to work with them, and how they work together.
You'll also find The Making of No Country For Old Men, another short EPK which is often the typical deal- everyone praising each other and saying how great everything is. There's a bit of technical stuff here, but not much. Note Kelly Macdonald's Scottish background!
Finally, we get Diary of a County Sheriff, which will help those of you who didn't 'get' certain aspects of the film. Essentially it retells Jones' story while adding more dialogue and commentary. Best part of the extras.
Ultimately I have to believe that No Country has a special edition on the way now that it has won best picture. The extras here just aren't up to snuff and this film deserves better. With that being said, you need to see this film. The Coens are on their game, and the film is incredibly original while being impeccably acted. Check it out.