Day: March 15, 2008

West Side Gory: Review for "No Country for Old Men"

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Out in the desolate west is where many great films have taken place. The Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, (winner of Best Director) are among the great American filmmakers. Their snarky noir to their screwball comedy have earned them prestige and respect and also a few Oscars. I’ve never cared for films that take place in the barren desert. They tend to be too formulaic. That’s where you have the Coens take an overused setting and make it new and interesting. Their 2008 Academy Award winner for Best Picture, No Country for Old Menis a refreshing look out west. Josh Brolin (Grindhouse) plays a man who finds dead bodies in the desert, with a briefcase of two million dollars and a truck filled with heroin. He tries to escape with the money, but on his trail is a hitman with the world’s worst haircut (Best Supporting Actor winner Javier Bardem). The Coens definitely produce, write, and direct the Thinking Man’s film, due to he fact it’s a bad idea to doze off through one of their films, otherwise, you might miss something very important. Many critics have said this films is a western horror movie, and in a way, they’re right. You have your maniac, your refugee, your hero, and your ultra-violence. The violence seems brutal, from explosions to shots…in the head. Javier’s hitmanis one of the most original portrayals in film history. He’s quick, slick, and keeps his cool, all with a very unfortunate hairstyle. Tommy Lee Jones (Academy Award nominee for In the Valley of Elah) is the good guy, trying to track down the killer and find who stole the money. The pursuit is heart racing, the emotionless face of the causes fear hitman as he walks closer to the door with his silenced gun. He’s very eerie, and his raspy voice intensifies it. He is one of the most evil characters ever to appear on screen. He runs shivers up your spine. You may find that “Call it, friend-o.” may be the most popular line of 2007. There’s a little of he Coen’s familiar humor hidden in the film, one liners and awkward moments. Joel and Ethan adapted the script from the novel by Cormac McCarthy. The great script and the wonderful storytelling is clear as day in this western thriller. The desolate wasteland where film takes place is haunting, as if you are alone and no one can help you. If you are trapped, laying in the sand covered in blood, and a man with a weird haircut calls you friend-o, you’re dead meat. Joel and Ethan tell this story in a flawless style (and won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay), and it is done it gorgeous detail. The ending has been causing controversy. Audiences have felt cheated. You are left with a cliff hanger, not as if it were to be made into a sequel, but just left on the edge of your seat, wanting more, but the film leaves you hanging. I did not care for the ending. I can not appreciate it. Other than that, No Country is a masterwork. A brutal, yet glorious film.

Grade: A