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