What’s So Special About No Country For Old Men?

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I’m not writing this to generate controversy, I’m just honestly perplexed. Perhaps this year hasn’t been that great in terms of cinematic quality? Maybe it’s just me?

I recently eagerly awaited the chance to finally catch NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. I am still recovering from a debilitating illness, and getting out does take a little more effort than the average bear. I was happy to be able to catch the film that has gotten raves from the DGA, and the SGA, amongst other Hollywood elite. It’s shortlisted to sweep the Oscars.
I have to interject that I am a fan of the Coens: FARGO, and especially THE BIG LEBOWSKI are amongst my fave films.

Still, I have to admit I was extremely disappointed in their latest offering. The film can be honestly described in a few sentences: a man finds money from a drug dealer’s shootout. Said man tries to keep money while evading a ruthless hitman hired to get the money back. Is there more to it? Maybe I missed it. Tommy Lee Jones’ speech at the end of the film was supposed to be profound, yet I found it belonging in a different movie. Javier Bardem’s hitman was a bit of a hoot, but so much was left unexplained. I don’t need every detail revealed (HANNIBAL RISING, anyone?), but it seemed that he just played a one-note character adequately. It’s like giving an award to Jason Voorhees.

Am I wrong? Have I lost it? Let me know!!

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6 Responses to What’s So Special About No Country For Old Men?

  1. Chris says:

    Well, I thought the ending fit the picture, but I think people are trying to read more into it than there is.

    // Spoilers from here on out.

    At the start of the film Tommy Lee Jones’s character makes mention of all the ugliness in the world, the degree to which it seems to have increased, and how it has led him to believe he’s now too old for the job.

    The film is filled with moments of shocking violence, and by the end every “good person” is dead — even Kelly MacDonald. Only the killer and Jones himself is left alive.

    But then there’s the exchange with his brother, and he makes mention of a terrible incident that occurred before Jones was even born..how the world’s always been cruel, and there’s no changing it.

    The end, especially with the dream sequence explanation is simply stating that ugliness will continue, until peace is ultimately found in death. That’s really all there is to it.

    What I see as problematic though, is the complete drop in tension that occurs in the final act. While interesting on a philosophical level, it really stood at odds with all the modern-western mayhem that filled the first half of the movie, making the film drag unnecessarily.

    But, yah , like you, I don’t think this was one of the best films of the year at all. Heck, it’s not even one of the Coen Bros’ best films. A good film on all accounts, but I think even O Brother Where Art Thou was far superior. Maybe it’s just a case of the academy making up for previous oversight.

  2. Chris says:

    Oh yah, and Tower, nice to see you writing again. Glad to hear of your recovery, and hope things keep looking upward for you :)

  3. Gazz says:

    WELCOME BACK GUYS!

    Jeez, been a long time! Loving the new site too! Got to say though, as someone who voted this flick as his number one of 2007, I’ve got to disagree with you here. Then again, opinions are like arse-holes. Everyone has got one and invariably they all stink a little at some point. I thought this was flawless filmmaking!

    Keep up the EXCELLENT work!

  4. Al says:

    You know, I, too, wasn’t all that enamored with “No Country.” And I’m not saying it wasn’t good or anything. I enjoyed it immensely, especially after the last couple of Coen Bros. films. I agree with the idea that the premise was a bit simplistic for the Bros’ Coen, and that Bardem’s performance (though badass) wasn’t this supposed revelation. I didn’t read the novel but I’m familiar with Cormac McCarthy. I still can’t help but think the film would’ve been more special and enduring if it was an actual Western.

  5. deepu says:

    pessimistic view of the outside world

  6. Swarion says:

    So what ? even if as what Chris described (thank you), the movie Juno deserved the Oscar for real, so as Benjamin Button deserved the Oscar more than Slumdog Millionaire, whatever I believe that 2007 was the worst for movies, 2009 is really great I hope 2010 will be great as 2009, all they need is to stop making movies based on novels, and stop remaking the 80’s and 70’s movies, they need to let their minds work again

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