Dec 2, 2007

no country for old men

I'm a little torn about No Country For Old Men. The Coen's are one of the few movie makers who still can drag me out to see their films in a movie theatre. There isn't a film they've made that I don't love. This film is slightly unusual for them however. I believe it is the only film that is based on someone else's writing. Correct me if I'm wrong. It's based on Cormac McCarthy's book of the same name. Unfortunately I really don't like Cormac McCarthy. And this one is no exception.

So do I hate the movie? No I actually liked it a great deal. The story just didn't capture me. It seemed disjointed in place and I'm not sure I really understood the motivations of some of the actors. Even worse, I wasn't sure what some characters were even doing in the movie (Woody Harrelson's character?). It had the feel of Blood Simple but not as interesting.

But the Coen's are so friggin masterful when the put together their movies it overcomes much of the letdown of the story. The casting is perfect. It's hard to beat Tommy Lee Jones. Javier Bardem and Josh Broslin I haven't seen before but liked the range of both actors in this movie. As an aside Josh is the son of James Broslin. I couldn't quite place where I had seen him before until realizing he was the second doctor on Marcus Welby (that takes me back a few years).

And more than ever before the pacing and precision in camera placement is remarkably tight in this movie. You can see the progression in capabilities from their first movie Blood Simple to this one. There's one particular scene where Broslin's character checks into a new hotel and decides to check on the briefcase he's carrying that is utterly remarkable in its ability to build tension. They have the same kind of talent Hitchcock had for screwing with your emotions.

So I liked the movie, I would recommend it, but I hope the Coen's go back to writing their own stuff next.

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