Saturday, February 02, 2008

No Country for Old Moviegoers

Some, okay, many, have referred to "No Country for Old Men" as the best Coen Brothers' film since Fargo, which isn't really fair as in that time they've made some duds (Lady Killers, Intolerable Cruelty) but at the same time, they also made some of my favourite films (The Big Lebowski, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?, and The Man Who Wasn't There). I suppose if the only Coen Bros' movies you liked were Blood Simple, Miller's Crossing, and Fargo then No Country for Old Men would probably top your list. For me though, I just felt like, to quote Homer (Simpson that is) it was just a bunch of stuff that happened and didn't really mean anything. I felt the menace of Javier Bardem who was scary as hell on a Sunday, and Josh Brolin was a revelation (I think that's the word you use when an actor surprises you by being better than you expected) but I don't know, something was missing for me. It certainly wasn't Bardem's best or most demanding role (think of The Sea Inside or Before Night Falls) but it's nice that American audiences are seeing more of him. Less interesting was Tommy Lee Jones. How many times have we seen him as the time-worn, experience eroded wise sheriff? A lot. Though on the other hand, that whole career seems to have been just a precursor to this role. Those roles were like a set-up for this one, if you know what I mean. The epilogue that "this is a hard country on a man. Takes its toll" as the title suggests seems to be the only conclusion we could come to but do I need a movie to tell me that there are some places in this world which are violent shit-holes? I only have to watch the news to know that. Then again, on the news I don't get to see Tommy Lee Jones (TLJ as I like to call him) crack wise about federal agents and that's a shame.



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