I haven't had the chance to see the Coen Brother's No Country For Old Men yet. To be honest, I've probably seen two movies this whole year in a theater. However, my good buddy Mac Cargould had the opportunity to view it this past weekend.
So, I thought I'd strike while the iron was hot and post his review:
I've been convinced for a long time that the Brothers Coen are amongst the best of the best American filmakers working today. They have an original style that cares about the different aspects of a movie (i.e. cinematography, music, editing...etc.)
And their sense of humor is fuckin' wicked.
I've been itchin' to see this movie since I heard about the raves it got at Cannes. So No Country for Old Men was my Thanksgiving Day movie.
It's been a while since I've seen a good Coen's brother movie in the theater. I walked in feeling like I was going to see an old friend. Right from the start, Joel and Ethan let you know that silence plays a big part in this movie. Something else they let know right from the start - that Javier Bardem is going to fuck some people up! He's the scariest thing I've seen on celluloid in the past ten years. Maybe it's his haircut, I don't know, but one thing I do know is that I'm not going to fuck with anyone I see who looks like that anymore.
The movie's based on a Cormac McCarthy novel. I've talked to some people who read more books than I do and they told me he's pretty well known for writing violent stories.
The basic plot is really nothing new to movies. An ordinary person stumbles upon a lot of money. In this case Josh Brolin's 'Llouellen Moss' stumbles upon a major drug deal gone really bad somewhere in south Texas in 1980. When he finds two million dollars in cash in a satchel, his life hits the fan. Because that's when Javier is on his ass and you know it's not going to go well for Josh Brolin.
I always love the way the Coen's use music in there movies. They don't use shit in this one. I don't think there was one piece of music in the whole movie unless it was a radio in the background or something. But the silence really sets the tone for this movie and it makes Javier-Brolin chase that much scarier. You fear for Josh Brolin's life after you see what Javier is doing to everyone else in his path.
This could possibly be the most violent Coen Brothers movie ever. This could possibly be the best acting Josh Brolin has ever done. He's having a hell of a year. His character is no dummy and you really root for him. But Javier's character's might as well be death. And when death is after and wants to kill you with a cattle-prog you better kiss your ass good-bye.
And then there's Tommy Lee Jones. Tommy Lee's old crusty sheriff is not really on the screen half as much as Brolin and Javier, but his character is the backbone of the story. He's on the trail of Javier. Javier is pretty easy to track because he leaves dead bodies wherever he goes. But Tommy Lee is also the narrator and that's where this movie gets interesting. You realize this story is about violence. Tommy Lee understands violence. He knows that there has always been violence and there always will be. And you can just see in his eyes that he really doesn't want to find Javier he would just rather retire and get the fuck out. Violence is no place for old men.
There are plenty story details that I'm not going to get into and all the actors are in top form (Woody Harrelson is always good), which is what you come to expect from Joel and Ethan.
But, the ending will probably be the thing that makes some people hate this movie.
I admit, when I walked out of the theater, I felt like the movie left me hanging and I was pissed. Those damn Coens. But I couldn't stop thinking about it. And after days of thinking and discussing it with other people who have seen it, it makes sense why the Coens would leave the story with that kind of anti-climatic ending. I feel better about it now than when I walked out. However, I feel the need to go back and visit this movie again.
The best thing about Coen brothers movies is they're always good enough to visit again and again. Check it out.
- Review by Milan (Mac) A. Cargould
Thanks Mac. Gets me pretty excited to see it on DVD. I'll have a review of Cormac McCarthy's novel "The Road" either this week or next week. It seems like he has some quiet mixed in with a little ultraviolence in all of his books. That said, I'll also be posting more of Mac's reviews as long as he wants to keep on writing them.