I know it’s been a little while since I’ve posted, and I feel very bad about that. I know I left all my adoring fans hanging in 2007 (hahaha! Look at me, pretending I have fans!), but writing when you have a fever rarely produces anything that makes any sense, let alone anything readable. So in the future, I will attempt to not get sick until I’ve posted an entire week’s worth of reviews so that you, my loyal readers, will not be left without my wisdom.
I knew two things about this movie before I watched it: 1) It was based on a book by Cormac McCarthy and 2) It was a Coen brothers film. And this time, I was right on both counts! This movie makes a lot more sense for the Coen brothers. Although it’s a drama, it still has enough quirky characters and funny lines to bring that Coen brothers feel to it. Of course, that makes me extremely curious about the book that it’s based on. Does it have that same quirky feeling to it? Maybe one day when I have time in my life, I will find out.
So what’s the story? One day while he is out hunting (or poaching, maybe?) in the desert, Llewelyn Moss stumbles across the bloody aftermath of a drug deal gone wrong. He finds a case containing two million dollars, and instead of reporting it to the police, he decides to keep the money and run. Because he leaves his truck at the scene, he is soon being pursued by both the county sheriff and a psychopathic killer who works for the drug lord.
The Good: It’s extremely well-acted. Josh Brolin is Llewelyn Moss, a Vietnam veteran who wants more in his life. Tommy Lee Jones plays Ed Tom, the county sheriff who just can’t understand the mindless violence that has entered his life. And Javier Bardem won an Oscar for his portrayal of Anton Chigurh, the incredibly scary psychopathic killer. Side note: I realized while I was watching this movie that although Javier Bardem is an attractive man, I’ve only seen him in movies where he plays a really bad guy, so I’m a little bit scared of him. I’m sure he’s a perfectly nice man in real life, but I would need to see him being nice in real life to overcome the scary people I’ve seen him play. Kelly MacDonald is Moss’s innocent young wife with a backbone of steel. Her scene at the end was so well-played, I had to watch it twice.
I don’t know whether it was the acting or the screenplay or the direction, but No Country for Old Men is a gripping movie. I couldn’t stop watching. I got a phone call in the middle of the movie from someone I love, and getting pulled out of the movie made me really frustrated. I was so annoyed that I had to pause it; I was so into it and so absorbed in the world of the movie that coming out for a phone call was almost painful. And that was to talk to someone I care about. If it had been a telemarketer, I’m not sure what I would have done.
The Bad: Although I love Kelly MacDonald and think she’s a great actress, she looked so young that when I first saw her, I thought she was Josh Brolin’s teenaged daughter, which made it really creepy when he told her that if she didn’t stop talking, he was going to take her to the bedroom. It honestly took me a bit to realize she was supposed to be his wife. I think that’s more the fault of the makeup and costume people than anything. Everything else makeup and costumey worked, even Chigurh’s creepy haircut, but something needed to be done to make Kelly MacDonald not look like a sixteen-year-old.
I also felt like there was a lot of backstory to everyone which we as viewers never really get told about. Backstory is a good thing; it adds a lot of richness to a movie. But it left me with the feeling that there were things going on that I didn’t understand, and that frustrated me a bit. The questions didn’t all get answered, either. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MONEY?
The Ugly: After watching No Country for Old Men, I feel kind of silly saying that There Will Be Blood was violent. No Country for Old Men is so much worse. People get shot left and right for no discernable purpose. I am also now afraid of oxygen tanks, although I recognize that Chigurh’s was a special cattle tool. Still. They are scary. And because there were so many deaths, I was left feeling empty at the end. I thought, “Wait. That’s it? That’s all there is to this story? What? How? Who? No, there has to be another ten minutes or so.” I didn’t have a feeling of closure; the movie just…ended. I didn’t like that at all. I felt like if that’s how it was going to end, then there wasn’t much point to the two hours that led up to the ending.
Oscars Won: Best motion picture of the year; best performance by an actor in a supporting role (Javier Bardem); best achievement in directing; best writing, adapted screenplay.
Other Oscar Nominations: Best achievement in cinematography; best achievement in film editing; best achievement in sound mixing; best achievement in sound editing.