Thursday, January 10, 2008


I watched No Country for Old Men last night. I'll try to avoid spoiling the movie for those of you who haven't seen it yet, and plan to, but you may want to avoid the whole post if you don't want to know anything about it.

First the good:
*Javier Bardem gave the best performance I've seen in a long long time. I haven't seen anything else that he was in (to my knowledge), but he was so good in this movie. He should win the Oscar for best supporting actor (even though it was basically a lead actor part, but whatever)
*Visually this movie is stunning. The shots of Texas desert are just beautiful.
*I like movies that are deep, dark and cold without the happy "the bad guys are dead, the good guys ride into the sunset with the pretty girl" endings. More than one reviewer called this movie nihilistic.

And the not so good:
I'm going to call this the "Knocked Up syndrome" from here on in - the movie doesn't live up to its own hype. If it's got a Rotten Tomatoes rating of over 90% (and it's not some French art house clusterfuck), I expect the movie to knock me off my feet. Silly me.

(This is probably where you should stop reading if you don't want to know too much about the movie)
The problem with this movie is that it is too movie-ish for me. Let's see if I can describe what I mean; I guess I got the feeling too much that the Coens were just writing a movie to get reviews of being "black" and "nihilistic" and "gritty." It's just a movie pretending to be these things and at no point during this thing did I manage to get myself "into" the movie. With all the plot-twists and main characters dying, I just came to expect it by the end, because that was the type of movie that this was. I understand that the Coens stuck close to the book, which I have not read, but this is my big criticism-It's a hackneyed version of a true film noir. Or maybe I'm just so cynical, that I watch movies like this with saying "it didn't make me feel anything." Realism doesn't exist in movies for me because they are the epitome of fake (except for Al Gore or Michael Moore productions - that is real, people).

One of the main characters died at a certain point and I think this was the turning point of the movie. It was overly downplayed to the point where you ask if said character really had any bearing on the movie at all (which he did - for 3/4 of the movie). It was at that point that I truly felt the manipulative powers of the Coen Bros coming through.

The ending wasn't anything spectacular. I won't go into details, but I had read more than one critique about the "excellent, plot twisting ending." Did these people see the same movie as me? It offered no surprises to me.

And one more thing...Does anyone know if they purposefully use fake-looking dogs for scenes where the animals are dead and/or dying? Do they do this so as not to offend the audience? We can make life-like blood, and show someone stitching himself up from a gunshot wound, but heaven-forbid we make it look like a real dog died...

Ugh. Anyway, it was a fine movie, but not as good as I thought it would be.

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