Sunday, January 20, 2008

No Country for Old Men (2007) review, by the Uncredible Duke

I know it has been out for a while now, but I just got around to watching No Country For Old Men. I live in the boonies, so I don't always get to see the first run. Anyway, the film is quite engaging. If you're the sort that doesn't like to think too hard when you watch films, you might want to skip this. Also, if everything has to make sense and be force fed to you like some Gerber's on a spoon, you might want to pass this one by. Otherwise, I think you'll like it. Sure it has the "surprise abrupt ending", but it's not too awfully abrupt. Part of the reason that it seems like an abrupt ending while you're watching it is the treatment of the Tommy Lee Jones character, Sheriff Bell.

I kept waiting for his involvement to be more meaningful. This is a bit of a spoiler, but Sheriff Bell is not really very personally involved in the action of the film whatsoever. He's more of a Narrator. Except he doesn't really ever narrate what is going on. He just sort of pops up here and there with little bits of background information on some of the characters and places and tools [Ed.--Yes, actual tools.] used in the story. It's clever, but it's definitely one of those things that needs to roll around in the mind.

A second watch will surely be in order. I suspect that when the DVD comes out, I'll probably watch with the Closed Captions ON so that I can tell what is being said. Old Joe is getting old and I don't always hear so well anymore.
As far as this being a Coen bros. film, don't come looking for O' Brother Where Art Thou?, or Raising Arizona. There are very few laughs [Ed.--Sounds like 'Blood Simple,' their first movie, and the 'Man Who Wasn't There,' with Billy Bob Thornton.], and the ones that are present are mostly the nervous kind. One recognizable aspect from the Coens' other work in No Country is their use of iconography.

The characters certainly are larger than life, especially that of Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem). Chigurh is the bad motherfucker of the piece, and he is the mother of all bad motherfuckers. Any fan of bad motherfuckers should see this film just for this characterization. You will not be disappointed.
I don't really want to give too much away, but No Country isn't much of a populist film. If you like stories that make you think, this one will be special to you. I can't think of much higher praise than that.