No Country for Old Men (2007)
Director: Ethan Coen
Tommy Lee Jones/Ed
Low key duder (Brolin) with a killer moustache and a hot wife snags a suitcase of cash at a “drug deal gone wrong” sight and then finds himself running for his life when some odd ball psychotic broheem (Bardem) comes after him in the name of the dough. How nuts is the nut? Well he kills peeps with an air gun meant for offing cattle – nough said! Stache-Man learns that one can run for a long time when fueled on greed!
What's this guy supposed to be the ultimate badass? - Moss
I wanted to catch NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN last year but never got around to stalking it. It’s like I always say; so many movies, so little time and I need to go out and get laid too ya know! Being that shite was slow on the theatrical horror front last week, I took a shot at it. So is all the hoopla around that damn sucka justified or justaf*ckinghype?
I got to hand it to the Coen Brothers! They got me again with this novel, double down cinematical and engaging show. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN worked me best when it kept it simple and to the grit, which thankfully was 85% of the time. The narrative was straightforward; dude stole money from bad guys, one bad to the bone loon wants it back. And when sticking to that I was hooked, lined and diaper changed by the film. Talk about pure, unadulterated suspense! OUCH! I was on the edge of my seat constantly while witnessing this grisly and inventive battle of wits. It sure helped matters that the Coens played it smart and ballsy. The dialogue was minimal (yet uber clever when it surfaced), the score was more akin to background sound than a full out score and the twist of events were often mucho unpredictable. The latter aspects definitely jacked up the impact of the happenings to “f*ck me man this movie just don’t give a f*ck!” and I respected that. The same could be said about the excessive and often left field violence at hand. The flick took no prisoners in that respect, anything went and I LOVED IT for it!
The sly approach to its main characters jazzed me as well. The flick shrouded its nuanced main players in mystery from the get-go and only revealed the details or lack of as the clock ticked forward. That definitely upped the engrossing factor of the ride. And what’s a good genre story without a frightening villain? Not sure what it is but this tough guy didn’t have that problem. Its nemesis scared the pants off of me and my cat (I like to put trousers on the little mofo now and then… don’t ask). The lad (chillingly played by Javier Bardem) was so off the wall that I never knew what he was going to do next. Now that I think about it, the villain was also fascinating in the sense that he was the only peep with a code and a set of values. Sure his code was warped and his set of values delusional, but at least he believed in something. Loved the contrast between that and the code-less “hero” who just wanted that bread at all cost. Spread on top of that sweet marmalade, a winning goofy/bleak sense of humor, a groovy appearance by Woody “Toka Toka” Harrelson (do more movies bra – we love ya), a winning (or frustrating depending on where you stand) ambiguous nature and the Coens mesmerizing imagery coating the whole and you get one heck of a celluloid treat.
So what was the problemo then? Well for me the title rang true. No Country for Old Men i.e. this is No Movie for Old Men. Yup, I could’ve easily done without the Grumpy Old Tommy Lee Jones subplot which granted acted as a cut away from the main action but that sadly also shaved off points from the visceral experience that was the primary story. I didn’t care for Jones’ “I’m going for that Oscar” approach to the role either (aka mumble a lot – take long pauses between lines – and stare into blankness a lot) and the fact that I didn’t understand much of what he marbled out didn’t help in making me care about his input. I would’ve cut out that whole Jones subplot out, use Moss' “wife” (tackled by the cute Kelly Macdonald) as a cut away and call it a more visceral and shorter film. Finally the “end” of one character really peeved me off. I mean the film got me to invest hardcore into somebody and had me spend lots of time with him/her and then discarded him/her “like that” with little to no fuss. That frustrated me.
Overall though NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN was a further grad-slam for the Coens and a comforting re-integration that YES there are filmmakers out there who still make taunt, artistic, brave, f*cked up and challenging genre films as opposed to extended trailers/music videos featuring talent-less yet pretty crackers with no edge or stereotypical rappers that can’t act and fake edge. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN = TRUE GENRE CINEMA!
It got messy in this abattoir! Air gun shots to the head and to the throat, messy self surgery on a gunshot wound, a bone popping out of an arm and blood splashes galore! Yup red was this one’s fav color!
Josh Brolin finally reached his potential and lived up to his “great man” dad (James Brolin) with this focused, testosterone fueled and introverted/captivating show. Javier Bardem (Anton) put out a unique and off kilter performance that creeped me out! Woody Harrelson (Carson) shined via his natural and charismatic demeanor. Tommy Lee Jones (Ed) went for the Oscar by trying too hard (in my pointless opinion) and mumbling too much hence losing my interest.
Kelly Macdonald (Carla Jean Moss) owned the scenery with her likeable and credible display. Wish we saw more of her!
T & A
Nothing, nada, niet, absolument rien! Unless Brolin’s impressive moustache counts for ya!
Armed with top notch skills when it came to generating and suatining suspense, striking shots and arresting cinematography, the Coens put out a transfixing show . It went from lingering on its sceneryvia wide shots and ambient sounds, to ripping the screen with tension laced and gory bits of mayhem. A multilevel affair that excelled in all that it tried to do.
Straight up if there was a score, it went over my head. I caught ambient sounds and low key rumblings that worked wonders for the picture, but a score? Nope! Silence was this one’s score and it worked wonders!
At face value NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN could be taken and enjoyed as a nerve wracking and violent chase/war of the of wits jamboree. But it’s actually more than that, and if you allow it, you can also enjoy the shades of grey tagged to its situations and characters. Granted the Tommy Lee Jones wants an Oscar subplot went over my tangerine and yes, I felt cheated when it came to one character’s “end”, but them boo-boos aside this was one unique, hilarious, ghastly and toe biting ride. If you’re in the mood for mature genre fare, diddle this one’s nerve endings and thank me later with a Big Mac, a side order of fries and a 20 year old nurse who’s sole medical tools are her spit and her tongue.
The film is based off Cormac McCarthy's novel of the same name.
The film was shot in New Mexico, USA and Texas.
The late Heath Ledger was in talks to play Moss but he backed out to take time off.
The flick won 4 Oscars at the 2008 Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem), Best screenplay based on material previously Produced or Published.
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