Sunday, November 25, 2007

Film Review: No Country for Old Men

Eric Greene

No Country for Old Men

Screen play written and director by Joel and Ethan Coen
Based on a book by: Cormac McCarthy

In case you're wondering, don't wonder anymore. The Coen brothers have done it again.

And, in case your wondering about the book by Cormac McCarthy, the 74 year old writer with a growing cult following, and the film, put that out of your mind. I read most of the book before seeing the film interpretation by the Coen's and then went back to finish the written word by McCarthy. The synergism between the book and film was amazing.

The Coen brothers, Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem showed their admiration for McCarthy on a recent Charley Rose [PBS TV].

And, in case you're worried about too much violence you must keep in mind some reality. There is violence and there is violence. This is time of US violence in the Iraq War, the history of the Vietnam War and the legacy of the World Wars and the Korean War. Now, that is violence. Add to that the crises and violence being perpetrated in the Middle East and other regional wars along with the massive poverty and exploitation. The violence that the Bush Administration continues to perpetrate in New Orleans.

True there are too many films with clearly gratuitous violence with the accompanying special effects and music to highlight the violence. This is not this Coen film. Coen films have a level of violence that don't glorify the events nor overly dramatize them.

The lead character of Anton Chigurh, McCarthy's unusual yet specifically named, does have a remembrance of Hannibal Lechter of the Silence of Lamb's, but he is quite a unique killer. Played by Spanish actor, Javier Bardem, Anton reaches a level of deep, yet shallow existence. He is the frightening guy you would not want to cross.

Bardem's fellow actors, Tommy Lee Jones, Sheriff Bell, and Josh Brolin, Llewellyn Moss, share the spotlight. This is Jones' second great performance on 2007 [the Valley of Elah the first], sort of reminds filmgoers of the year that George Clooney had in 2006. Brolin is also having a busy 2007. He plays a crooked cop in the film, "American Gangster."

The McCarthy story of found illegal money is not a new one. And, the story of killers being chased by the law is also not a new line. Maybe that is why the McCarthy book and the loyal depiction of the book by the Coen's is so unusual. The book reader and filmgoer understand that the story goes beyond the characters and their dialogue.

The cinematography and film editing is also quintessential Coen brothers. This is film that is a must for filmgoers.

PS For Enthusiasts of Bardem, it was interesting to learn from his on line biographers that this shy actor has some very definite viewpoints. He said that in his homeland Spain, if same sex marriages were made legal, I'd, "get married tomorrow, just to fuck with the church."

No comments: