Thursday, November 08, 2007

No Country for Old Men (Review)

Everyone has said it but...The Coens are back.

After two attempts to the mainstream the Coen brothers go back to their roots and ironically will likely get the BO success they so desired. But don't expect to be blown away by this film. It's been hyped way to much for that. This is a solid cat & mouse, western set in 1980 but it lacks the jaw-dropping moments of flash shown some of their earlier work. The Coen signatures are present again including a blacker than pitch vilian stunningly pulled off by Javier Bardem. He is after Josh Brolin who has stumbled upon a satchel of cash lost in a literal mexican stand-off. Brolin is also in top form as is the old cop on the case played by Tommy Lee. Aside from a fairly tired turn from Woody Harrelson the acting is top notch.

Of course much of that is due to the lines the are given. The script is vintage Coens. Though I don't know how much was in the source material, the dialogue is like west Texas's wet dream of it's quirky self... and the black humor that comes from much of it is priceless. Of course there is that ending, or lack there of. Much will be made of this - indeed the screening was closed with quite a few whiskey, tango, foxtrots - but I found it satisfying in a way that the sentimentality of 3:10 to Yuma was not.

Like Fargo reinvents the Noir (Film Blanc anyone?) this film takes a western and dresses it up in 80's K-Mart threads and Ford Broncos and it works just fine. They make the case that the west of the 1980 was bloodier and more frightening than that which had come before... echoing the times that we live in, especially here in Philly.


The Electric Soft Parade - Appropriate Ending

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