Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Dark, tense, captivating.
This film was selected from ‘The 250’
Throughout the years, I’ve made it known that Westerns aren’t exactly my forte in film. I think they are for a specific market – one that I’m most definitely not a part of. However, with every genre I grow weary of, I also find one that stands above the rest, and end up loving it. No Country for Old Men isn’t exactly a western, but in a lot of ways…it is. Then again, I’m not an expert in the subject, so you’ll just have to watch it and decide for yourself…as for me, I thought it was very well done.
No Counry for Old Men stars Josh Brolin in probably the first role I’ve ever seen him in. He plays cowboy/hunter Llewelyn Moss, who randomly runs into the scene of a drug deal gone bad. Also at the scene is a briefcase full of two million dollars. At this point, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, because from here on out, it’s a game of cat and mouse. A psychopathic killer by the name of Anton Chigurh is heading for Llewelyn to kill him and take back the money, but Llewelyn is a really smart guy, which ultimately makes things worse for everybody. This killer’s weapon of choice is an airgun hooked up to an oxygen tank normally used to kill steer, and he doesn’t mind using it on anyone that gets in his way.
I say this is pretty much a western because of the overall tone. No, it’s not as light and goofy as I tend to see from Westerns, it is more modern, dark, and realistic. Instead, what you have is a very solid man vs. man; protagonist vs. antagonist plot. As gory and tense as this movie tends to be, it also pays credit to classic plot structures, which really helps the movie in the long run. Both characters are immensely memorable, especially Javier Bardem. His strange demeanor and hairstyle is weird enough to intimidate anyone, and his weapon of choice is nothing short of legendary. They could have easily just given the guy a gun and he would have still held a strong impression, but the choice to put in this airgun was intuitive and creative – making his character as a whole something absolutely unforgettable. Suddenly, he is one of the best villains in film history. – That level of intuitive thought is what is missing from most movies today. It’s sad.
That’s not the only thing that makes this film so great either. Just watch the thing. Each scene was done with intense care and scrutiny, and whoever was in charge of photography truly had an eye for beauty in normally overlooked things. There is one shot in the movie where it focuses closely on a scrunched up candy wrapper expanding. I don’t know anyone else who would ever dare put something so stupid in a movie, and yet…it was a really intimidating shot and worked wonderfully with everything that was actually happening in the scene. There are just shots like that everywhere in this movie. There are dramatic pauses, and random speeches that don’t make a lot of sense, and somehow they are placed exactly where they needed to be to complete a truly captivating film.
Now, not everyone will enjoy this movie, because in a lot of ways…it’s weird. It’s unpredictable, the ending itself is strange, because it satisfies you, but at the same time…it doesn’t. Kind of in the same way life itself is understood – in all of its mysterious, exciting, strange, and wonderful ways. What I say now will never do the film justice, and even if it could, the film as a whole is just too big to pass up. Definitely check this thing out.
As a whole, No Country for Old Men is immensely tense and satisfying. These characters in this setting and among these circumstances is both unforgettable and very epic. You don’t know where anything is headed, but at the same time you don’t really care because you just like watching the thing. The acting, writing, and use of camerawork in this movie feel like a masterpiece.
For those that are queezy, there are some brutal scenes in this movie, but beyond that – there are also very strange scenes with interpretless speeches. There are also really long and quiet scenes that might just bore you or make you sleepy.
The only film of the 2000s to gross under $2 million in its opening weekend, and later win an Academy Award for Best Picture.