lundi, décembre 03, 2007

No Country for Old Men, Reviewed (with the ILIM Spoiler Free Guarantee)

I will be very surprised if I see a movie this year or next that I like more than I liked "No Country for Old Men." In my view, it is flawless.

I must confess that I'm a fan of the Coen brothers. I have seen all of their major motion pictures, and I love them all. I even like "The Hudsucker Proxy, Intolerable Cruelty and The Ladykillers." Of them all, I like "Barton Fink" the least - and I like it quite a lot. "The Big Lebowski" is an obsession.

What distinguishes "No Country for Old Men" is the phenomenal script, based on what must be a superb novel (it's on my wish list), and the Coen brothers' unrivaled ability to establish setting. They do this with hyperbole, there's no question about it. Arizona and Minnesota are not as typed as they appeared in "Raising Arizona" and "Fargo," but in both instances, we come to understand something about both places by virtue of the care they take to display what distinguishes them from every other place in the world.

And the Texas of NCfOM is a hard place. It’s as hard as Calechee. You know this from the first minute of the film. Their Texas is inhabited by people of uncommon wit, characters all, soulful men and women who give the tragedy its heft.

Every single actor turns in a very strong performance. Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin and Kelly Macdonald are amazing, but Woody Harrelson, Javier Bardem and Tess Harper are not to be ignored. Last, two supporting roles appeal for a new way to describes actors who are not in the lead Garrett Dillahunt is wonderful (and funny), and Barry Corbin is asked to carry a scene of tremendous importance, the titular scene in fact, and he does it with the natural ease or a practiced professional.

I recommend NCfOM without hesitation, and would only caution those who have trouble with violence to brace themselves for a few unpleasant scenes.

When you go, make sure to laugh. The first third of the movie is full of the Coen brothers' patented humorous touches - enjoy them. And make sure to pay close attention throughout. On the surface, the movie is a slow-paced action film, but at its heart, it’s literature - full of the higher truths that we gain from all the great works.

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