Monday, December 10, 2007

(:)(:) for No Country for Old Men

Two snouts up for No Country for Old Men the pointless "thriller" by the Coen brothers (known in Hollywood as "the two-headed director") now playing in movie theaters. I have loved many Coen brothers films despite the violence, Fargo, O Brother Where Art Thou? Raising Arizona, and Barton Fink, to name a few.

But this may have been my first foray into the really relentless Coen brothers films. I had previously spared myself Miller's Crossing and Blood Simple which I believe were much more bloody. So if it had just been me, I might have discounted my experience of this film. I don't tend to like overly violent pictures, and might have overlooked the brilliance of the Coen brothers as I sat bathed in the blood of the movie.

My husband, who has a high tolerance for violent films and also loves the Coen brothers , seemed to largely share my experience of this one. Our reaction could largely be summed up as "Whaaa?"

Despite compelling performances by Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin and, the stand-out, Tommy Lee Jones, arresting cinematography and lots of thrilling near death experience for our "hero" Josh Brolin (a vietnam vet turned n'er-do-well welder who stumbles upon $2 million in cash in a drug deal gone bad and goes on the lam with it), the movie is ultimately completely pointless.

Tommy Lee Jones character says things that sound like they are supposed to be profound or would give us some insight into why we've been subjected to what essentially is a horror show of the character played by Javier Bardem stalking his prey, Llewelyn (played by Brolin).

The Coen brothers make a number of completely inexplicable choices in the movie, providing us with a massively anticlimatic series of "endings," and no sense of why on earth we would ever want to have endured this movie. We get to watch Bardem kill person after person and sometimes compellingly not kill some people. And we watch Tommy Lee Jones, the near-retirement sweetheart Texas cop, not do a blessed thing about it despite his concern.

Do yourself a favor and skip the carnage. Read a good book instead.

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