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We get another spoiler-ific review of the Coen Bros' NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here... I... love... Coen... Brothers... Movies... Must... Not... Read... Spoilers... Beeewwwarreeeee!!

I saw one of the first screenings for No Country For Old Men by the Brothers Coen last night and it took me a day to write this. Not because I was lazy or anything…okay, maybe a little of that, but I wanted to think it over. I’m a huge fan of the Coens and they are one of my favorite, if not my favorite, writing/directing partners working today. They have yet to make a film that I’m seriously disappointed with and that is including Intolerable Cruelty. You see, the problem is that when I left the theater neither loving it nor hating it but I was just…conflicted and torn. There is a lot to love in this film but there is also the ending, which just didn’t work for me. The story goes, if you don’t already know so, about a man named Moss, played with great, silent intensity by Brolin, who stumbles upon the scene of a drug deal gone badly. Of course, to put in bluntly, shit goes down after an act of compassion brings him back to the scene. Up until the end, the film holds you by the balls while having the signature Coen brothers’ humor (like a random mariachi band) to lighten up what is really a grim, dark story. There is not one bad performance in the film and all of the actors play at the top of their game. Especially Javier Bardem. This film has one of the creepiest and most original villains to come along in a long, long time. Chigurh, played by Javier Bardem, is one of those guys that, if you look at cross-eyed, may just shoot you with a silenced shotgun in the middle of a crowded city street during the day and still get away with it. His limited movement and his propensity for using this device that makes locks blow off like projectile bullets make him incredibly threatening and innovative. He can take any normal, everyday situation like paying for gas over at a gas station and make it very suspenseful. The scariest thing about him is that he has no motivation for what he does, he just does it. He’s sort of a cross between Two Face and The Joker in that regard. The cat and mouse game he plays with Brolin too is one of the most tense and effective I have seen in a while. When you see the Hotel Eagle sequence, you will see why. I especially love the whole yin and yang thing the Coens do with both char acters. They are both hunters but each are out for different prey. If Javier Bardem doesn’t get an Oscar nomination for his role, I will be seriously disappointed. The film is also one of the most violent I have seen in a long time especially after seeing such gorefests like Grindhouse and Pan’s Labyrinth. After any time a character is hurt by violence, the film lingers on the wound as the character cleans it up. You feel their pain but not in a Bill Clinton or Oprah sort of way. This is very reminiscent of A History of Violence but here it comes off as a lot more realistic and disturbing here. If there is one problem besides the ending of the film, it is Tommy Lee Jones’ character. He feels integral to the plot but nothing happens with his character. It was a great performance but I thought it would amount to something greater towards the end. The ending suffers from what I call New Century Spielberg Syndrome. Have a terrific film for the first 2/3rds and have it all fall apart at the end. SPOILER ALERT! STAY AWAY IF YOU DON’T WANT YOUR EYES RAPED!


BEWARE IF YOU DON’T WANT THIS MOVIE RUINED! Really, you still want to see it? Okay here it is…. After Brolin’s character gets killed by the Mexicans after a fade to black, the film just goes downhill...fast. Like falling down Everest fast. Now, this is where I thought Tommy Lee’s Jones’ character Bell would really shine. Instead he just visits a relative and the film ends after a rambling talk with his wife. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that the antagonists win and it is quite different in a good way. Frankly if Brolin got his money and left for Europe with his wife then the ending still wouldn’t work. Even if Tommy Lee Jones came guns blazing after Brolin was murdered, killing all the Mexicans, and then shouting “This is no country…for dead fuckers like you” it still wouldn’t work…in fact, that is an even worse idea. Don’t print it; I don’t want to give Hollywood any ideas. Instead, the film sort of cuts off where it feels like the foreword momentum is still going. It’s like you’re in a moving car and a brick wall comes the fuck out of nowhere and you slam right into it. The saving grace about the ending, though, was closure for Chigurh’s character. It is violent like the rest of the film but also tragic in a very subtle way.


SPOILER ALERT OVER! COME BACK! Maybe I just need to see it again to see what the Coen’s were going after but as it stands here, there is a lot of amazing potential in this film but it ends on a whimper rather than a bang. This could go up with some of the best films of the year and possibly in the Coen’s filmography. That is if that ending works finally… If you print this just call me… Doctor Jimmy

Readers Talkback
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  • May 3, 2007, 4:53 a.m. CST

    First!

    by Quintus_Arrius

    You bastards

  • May 3, 2007, 4:58 a.m. CST

    Oh Hail the glorious Coens!

    by Quintus_Arrius

    Looking forward to this one. For me they can do no wrong!

  • May 3, 2007, 4:59 a.m. CST

    While I'm at it...

    by Quintus_Arrius

    ...3rd

  • May 3, 2007, 5:09 a.m. CST

    Sounds like..

    by TELF

    A great adaptation of one of my fave books. Hooray! Just reaease it already so I can start fixating on the upcoming The Road and Blood Meridian adaptations...

  • May 3, 2007, 6:49 a.m. CST

    If he didn't like the movie ending(spoilers)

    by Affleckwasthebomb

    then he'd hate the book. the wife gets it too. I can't wait for wait for this. The sheffif character is improtant he's the audience but yeah not a lot goes on with him. Again I can't wait for this.

  • May 3, 2007, 6:50 a.m. CST

    Good to hear the Coens are back in darker terrain...

    by Jakes Nel

    Now get your fingers out your arses and make To The White Sea with Brad Pitt!

  • May 3, 2007, 7:13 a.m. CST

    THIS YEAR'S LITTLE MISS INTOLERABLE CRUELTY!!!

    by Err

    I didn't read the spoilers because I want to see this.

  • May 3, 2007, 8:23 a.m. CST

    dude missed the point

    by evolvingsensblty

    Make note of the title of the book/movie.

  • May 3, 2007, 9:33 a.m. CST

    Who's to say who is right?

    by Affleckwasthebomb

    agree with every thing you just said. bar is it right. This is an old mans opinion on society these days. He's been around for so long and just seen things getting worse and worse on a yearly basis. This is truely is becoming a dog eat dog world and that kind of world is for the young.

  • May 3, 2007, 11:05 a.m. CST

    Evolvingsensblty

    by Doctor Jimmy

    Well, yes, I did get what they were going after with the ending that it is "no country for old men." That really becomes very literal when the ending puts it in your face over and over again. It couldn't have been more blunt if the Coens themselves came out in the middle of the film and told it to you. The main problem I have with the film is that after so much story momentum, it just suddenly stops. It doesn't feel right.

  • May 3, 2007, 11:42 a.m. CST

    That is, indeed, the book

    by D. Allusion

    And the challenge in adapting it. It has a bleak, frustrating ending, and I questioned how they would pull if off. Obviously they just did it. The Jones character has almost no impact on what happens on the events of the story, as the level of viciousness and cruelty has surpassed anything he has ever dealt with. I can't wait to see it.

  • May 3, 2007, 12:02 p.m. CST

    "It’s like you’re in a moving car and a brick wall"

    by 12-GAUGE

    That's exactly how that part in the book made me feel, and I loved it for that. I was really worried that in the movie--even though it was the Coens--that they wouldn't have the balls to stick to that. But apparently they did. Excellent news.

  • May 3, 2007, 12:38 p.m. CST

    The end

    by Affleckwasthebomb

    I can totally see why some people might feel that the ending doesn't feel right but their adapting a book and I for one are glad that they haven't gone the usual Hollywood route of making a happy ending. to me that would negate the whole point. It being the Coens I was never too worried a happy ending would occur I'm glad to have it confirmed.

  • May 3, 2007, 2:11 p.m. CST

    The ending is amazing

    by thatguamguy

    This guy is an idiot who wanted the ending to be Tommy Lee Jones somehow becoming a hero like the ending of that shitty shitty 'History of Violence' to which he refers. The Coens have made a quiet masterpiece along the lines of 'The Man Who Wasn't There' -- which also had an ending which wasn't a climax action-wise, but was a climax character-wise and theme-wise, which is what makes it a masterpiece. This movie follows through on the brilliance of 'Fargo' and 'Man Who Wasn't There' [not really the same vein as 'Miller's Crossing', other than being even more violent], and it looks like 'Blood Simple' by way of 'O Brother Where Art Thou?' I'm sure "Dr. Jimmy" was the idiot who was sitting behind me talking the whole time, saying things like "Who knew Tommy Lee Jones could be funny?" and "What's going on? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHY HE'S DOING THAT?" when Chigurh is removing bullets from his leg.

  • May 3, 2007, 2:39 p.m. CST

    Spoilers schmoilers

    by Stuntcock Mike

    I'm looking forward to this one.

  • May 3, 2007, 2:40 p.m. CST

    Exactly, he misses the point

    by DannyOcean01

    Even though it's there staring at him like vagina in the title....For fucks sake, it's Moss's realisation that he's too old, and not strong enough for this new West, this new Texas that explains why we don't get that action ending...In fact, it's not even a new epiphany. It's something he's struggled with for a while. And it's staring him in the face with every movement of Chigurh. I'll admit when I read the book I felt a bit flat by the 'strange' ending, but it all makes sense in relation to the title. Very pleased the Cohens stuck with it...

  • May 3, 2007, 2:40 p.m. CST

    Exactly, he misses the point

    by DannyOcean01

    Even though it's there staring at him like vagina in the title....For fucks sake, it's Moss's realisation that he's too old, and not strong enough for this new West, this new Texas that explains why we don't get that action ending...In fact, it's not even a new epiphany. It's something he's struggled with for a while. And it's staring him in the faced with every movement of Chigurh. I'll admit when I read the book I felt a bit flat by the 'strange' ending, but it all makes sense in relation to the title. Very pleased the Cohens stuck with it...

  • May 3, 2007, 3:20 p.m. CST

    awesomeness

    by thatguamguy

    The ending of the movie is even more ambiguous than the ending of the book, from what i've been led to believe. Several things which are definitively said in the book are left open in the movie. It's a brilliant movie. It seems like the Coens do one like this every six years or so. (Nothing against 'Lebowski', which is amazing and brilliant in a completely different way.)

  • May 3, 2007, 3:58 p.m. CST

    Release Date

    by ZooTrain

    IMDB doesn't have a US release date. At least, it didn't last time I checked. Any ideas?

  • May 3, 2007, 5:24 p.m. CST

    thatguamguy

    by Doctor Jimmy

    Apparently, you missed the point of my entire review. Good job. Not only that, you mistook me for another person entirely. Great job. There may be a promotion in your future.

  • May 3, 2007, 7:45 p.m. CST

    Strangeco

    by troutpencil

    That is a very simplified way to view McCarthy. If he is making a statement about how violence is worse in these modern days, why is the book set in an anachronistic and indiscernible time period? It seems to be set in the 80s but the characters use cellphones, etc etc. And I am certain that McCarthy does NOT feel that way in any case. As if the author of "Blood Meridian" (I'm shocked if you haven't read it, it's about a scalping expedition in the 1800s) would believe that violence has gotten worse in modern years. One of the only things I'm pretty certain McCarthy believes in is that man has and always will be completely and tragically violent.

  • May 4, 2007, 1:58 a.m. CST

    Thinking that we live in more violent times then ever.

    by bioforge

    Hoping that others will feel sorry for us because of that and listen to our bullshit. As for the movie the Coen bros are still high on my list and will try to see this , good review.

  • May 4, 2007, 6:30 a.m. CST

    McCarthy has little or no faith in humanity

    by theoneofblood

    "Blood Meridian" pretty clearly demonstrates that. Although his ending to "The Road" was interesting, perhaps he's got just a little bit of hope left.

  • Feb. 26, 2008, 8:34 p.m. CST

    i get it

    by smutpeddlar

    i get it..i just don't like it...actually,there is so much to love in the way of performance and direction,to me i just wish they had picked a different book to adapt..i thought the book was terrible..the world is in a downward spiral of violence and evil..."its not just the one thing" i get it..we all get it..i just feel the book was half assed