Thursday, March 20, 2008

Movies of Note: No Country for Old Men

You know, I hadn't even heard of No Country for Old Men until it won the Oscar for Best Picture. (Truth be told, I don't hear much about any movies nowadays, but whatever.) However, I enjoy many of the works of the Coen Brothers, so I decided to give it a look.

And let me tell you, it's quite good.

No, I'm not going to go into a full-blown review of it, but I will say a few points.

First, this movie gets really tense. Like, napkin-ripping tense. Personally, I consider this a good thing.

Second, there is so much ingenuity in the way almost every character utilizes normal, everyday objects that you'd think you were watching a live feed from the MacGyver convention.

Third, and this is something I've heard elsewhere, the ending ain't too great. But apparently the Coen Brothers followed the book quite closely, so I guess this means that's the book's ending ain't too great either. Still, it won the Oscar despite the ending, so rest assured that 95% is good.

There are a lot of interesting characters (as their usually seem to be in a Coen Brothers movie) but most of them don't seem to get enough screentime. But again, the movie closely follows the book, so you can blame the original author (um....Cormac McCarthy!) for that. The only real character you feel you see enough of is the protagonist, a random Texan hunter/Vietnam vet named Llewelyn (though I swore for the first half of the movie, I thought they were calling him "Luann").

Really, though, the true main character in this story is actually the villain. The guy who played him apparently won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and I think it's well-deserved. He really has a presence on screen, and it's not just because of his outlandish hair. The character himself is quite interesting, as he is a psychopathic killer, but as the story progresses, you can get just a hint of what his underlying values are. It's like, you can tell there is a method to his madness, but you don't fully understand what it is. One thing he does seem to have - at least, in my interpretation - is a very set idea of reaping what you sow. He thinks that all your actions lead you up to every point in your life, and each decision you make should affect whether you live or die.

I think this kind of idea is summed up quite well in one tense scene, which for some reason stood out from the rest. Rather than describe it, I'll just show the video. Don't worry, no real spoilers. As a simple set-up, the killer is at a gas station. That's about it.

So there you go.

If you mind neither a bunch of Texan accents or quite a bit of gritty violence, I highly recommend (with both thumbs) that you see this movie.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No pais por los viejeos...

Well, that would be the Ms. Wilkinson version of it. I wonder if she would have people translate an entire movie into Spanish.

-Comrade Chavez