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No Country for Old Men (2007)

July 16, 2009

VERDICT:
8/10 Mop Tops

Wasn’t the best thing that came out in 2007, but a great movie all the same and one hell of a much-needed return to form for the Coen brothers.

No Country For Old Men is about a guy who stumbles the aftermath of an epic drug deal/murder scene, finds a briefcase full of money among the corpses, and then has to run for his life from the owner of that cash bag, aptly referred to as “the ultimate badass” who looks like the textbook definition of that creepy neighbor next door who still lives in his mother’s basement.

I’ve gotten into more arguments about this movie than I care to recall, but I don’t care, I’m sticking by it. It’s not the perfect movie that a shit-ton of people were calling it, but from a technical standpoint, it is freakin’ flawless.

Everything about this movie from the way it looks, the awesome characters and the great actors that play them, and not to mention some of the most seamless and intense action scenes I’ve ever seen are all things that play into why this bad boy won 4 Oscars.

So in that sense, it’s hard to argue that No Country isn’t an unbelievably well made movie from two guys who really know their shit and have one damn impressive track record to prove it. But then again, there’s more to a perfect movie than just making it all look good.

The part where this movie falters is unfortunately its story. See, No Country follows two separate plotlines – the chase between Josh Brolin (the guy with the cash) and Javier Bardem (the guy who wants his cash back), and Tommy Lee Jones as the old-timer sheriff who’s always one step behind and struggling to come to terms with his place in a world filled with such overwhelming violence and hate.

And that’s where things get muddled.

The big difference between the two plotlines is that one has lots of guns, lots of action, and the best characters in the movie, and the other has an old man talking. As a result, you really pay attention to the awesome and zone out the old man because he’s far less awesome, and everything kind of goes in one ear and out the other when there aren’t crazy shootouts going on.

But then the end credits roll and you realize that you’ve been paying attention to the wrong plotline the whole damn time. Turns out Tommy Lee Jones is actually the main character and he’s what this movie is all about.

“Come again?” you might say.

“How come no one told me I should have been paying more attention to what the old man was saying?” you might add.

“That’s fucking bullshit!” you may well conclude.

And that’s the problem with No Country for Old Men. If you haven’t seen it yet, just take my advice and pay attention, you’ll be glad you did. If you’re still pissed off about this movie, go read the book it’s based off by Cormac McCarthy. It’s really good, and while the action scenes don’t translate as well as they do on-screen, it entirely makes up for what was missing in the story.

Even so, this is still a great movie. The Coen brothers, simply put, kick ass, and Javier Bardem is a goddamn maniac/fantastic actor to boot; I’d recommend seeing this movie even just for him. It’s pretty violent and dark as all hell, but it’s a fine example of filmmaking done right and it’s a big step up from The Ladykillers and Intolerable Cruelty.

Way to go, Joel and Ethan! We missed you.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 23, 2009 6:22 pm

    The ending did have me pissed and what I thought was wiggety-whack too(spoiler alert!), was that Josh Brolin’s character was killed before him and Javier could have had the long-awaited showdown that everyone wanted to see. But this movie is a typical Coen Brothers ending, so I can’t be too pissed. And Javier is amazing and definitely deserved that Oscar win he got.

    • Aiden R permalink*
      July 23, 2009 9:10 pm

      Yeah, it was a Coen brothers movie alright, a lot like Blood Simple, and that’s a damn good thing. That’s how the book goes though. Plays in to my whole problem with the movie, misleading the audience to believe the story is about Brolin and Bardem. Just gotta read the book I guess. Oh, and I’m afraid I had to edit your comment a bit, not a big fan of the G word. No hard feelings, man.

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