Friday, December 7, 2007

You Can't Kill A Ghost: Thoughts On No Country For Old Men

I was able to sneak away this afternoon and catch No Country For Old Men. My friend Brian is going to write a full review, so I will provide some of my thoughts.

New York Times film critic A.O. Scott's opening paragraph of his critique of the film ends with this line "at its center is a figure of evil so calm, so extreme, so implacable that to hear his voice is to feel the temperature in the theater drop." That's a hell of a line and a very accurate description of Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem). I will add by writing that even in the scariest of movies I find comfort in the bright flickering light that is the projection bulb behind me. Unfortunately I was able to find no such security in this dark shroud of a movie. To watch No Country For Old Men is to constantly want to look over your shoulder for something sinister waiting to hurt you.

Javier Bardem was excellent, but I was most impressed with Josh Brolin.

Going back to take water to the man in the truck was almost too much of a stretch for me. Almost.

I will spend a lot of time trying to get the image of Javier Bardem on the ground with his handcuffed hands around the sheriff's neck out my head but will have little luck.

Woody Harrelson made the most out of his little screen time.

Fading to black after Tommy Lee Jones discovers the heating grate and the dime and screws on the ground might be some of the finest storytelling I have ever witnessed.

A crumpled plastic cashew bag uncrumpling on a counter top can be a very disturbing image.

Kelly Macdonald almost stole the show in the final minutes of the film. Almost.

How can the same team who made Intolerable Cruelty and The Ladykillers be responsible for this modern masterpiece?


Ray said...

I agree with all of that, Piper.

The ending is so magnificent, that I truly feel sorry for people who felt let down by it. It tells us, without a doubt, that no matter what we dream about a future hope of securioty and warmth, it will never come. Evil will always be there, lurking, and finding new and mind-blowingly sinister new ways to destroy.

A perfect film.

Piper said...

The ending reminded me of the ending of The French Connection. Just an unsettling feeling that evil is still out there.

Garrett Sorrels said...

Great movie.
My wife and i talked about it for days.

Its funny, It such a great movie but I wouldnt recommend it to everyone.My mom asked if she should go see it and I told her "no". I knew what she would be expecting at the end...and it doesnt happen.

Rick Dunn said...


I didn't read either post about this movie until I seeing it last night. Probably the best film I've seen in many years. The scenes of Bardem talking to his prey (the gas station clerk, Carla Jean, Carson Wells) were so hard to watch, but brilliant. The outcome was inevitable. The best films make their point without being heavy handed. Death is unavoidable. Like Ray said, evil will always reinvent itself. And, in most cases, life comes down to a flip of a coin.