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Old 02-11-2008, 04:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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No Country for Old Men - Oh, there be spoilers

I've been on a movie rampage this last month, with there not being a lot great to see, I've mostly been doing things - well that's stopped, stupid good movies.

So after a lot of people saying there was this movie that the Cohen brothers did and it won like, these awards and stuff, I figured I might as well see what all the fuss was about. I actually went in expecting it to be brilliant, and in the end that usually just means it's going to be crap. I expected the ending, as was stated by a few people, to be completely out of place and I expected no closure whatsoever.

If I'd have watched this when I was 16 or so, I would have thought it was crap and been pissed off by the ending.

What I saw, and I'm not a HUGE fan of the Cohen brothers - never got into fargo, was a movie that blew me away. From the very first minute I saw Javier Bardem's character in the police station, removing himself from the handcuffs, and the look on his face as he decimated the guard, then the sick, disturbing look of almost sexual gratification as he completed his task - fuck me, this was going to be a hell of a ride.

I'm glad I watched it alone, because I don't think I know many people who enjoy a very slow developing story like this was. I know it's what ruined American Ganster for me.

I look back on it and wonder how anyone could not sit through the entire film with their teeth clenched, just wondering what was going to happen next.

It basically took the "edge of your seat, hands gripping the armwrests" style normally reserved for high flyin' rootin' tootin' action flicks, and made it work in something that was a thousand times slower.

I love Brolin's character in Planet Terror and American Ganster, and he's fantastic here. Tommy Lee Jones is old as shit, but he's also a genius. Javier Bardem, who I'd never seen before, was unbelievable. From the opening scene to the ending last minutes, he was pent up fury, anger and insanity. To have a serial killer with such control, and be so meticulous at the same time - This man is freakin' awesome. I can't wait to see "Love in the time of Cholera", and he's got a back catalog that I'm going to check out, too - apparently "Before Night Falls" is amazing, may have to look into that.

Anyway - I know a lot of people have talked about it, and I'm interested in hearing some thoughts ABOUT the movie. I found a few really interesting interpretations, which I thought about simply, but these really give them feet to run on.

The first one says everything very quickly, and the huge focus is on that everyone, every thing in the movie is evil, but the redemption of Carla Jean at the end. Even though her fate is no different than anyone that's died, she refuses to give into fate's decision, and it made her a complete bad-ass in my mind. She spit in his face when he asked her to toss a coin, no matter what he picked, if he left - what would that mean? She, through death, took the upper hand... I think, anyway. Onto the links where they say it with better smartitude than I can.

Free Will and Anton Gigurh

and another take linked from the page above:

http://mattzollerseitz.blogspot.com/2007/11/point-blank-no-country-for-old-men.html

Oh - and best quote ever from an actor:

Quote:
The Coen Brothers used a photo of a brothel patron taken in 1979 as a model for Anton Chigurh's hair style. Looking at its weirdness after getting the hair cut, Javier Bardem said "Oh no, now I won't get laid for the next two months".

Last edited by andsoitgoes; 02-11-2008 at 04:11 AM.
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Old 02-11-2008, 11:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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No Country, in my opinion, is hands-down Movie of the Year. I've always been a Coen brothers' fan and this is by far the best movie they've made. Cinematography, direction, acting ... tops. Javier Bardem was one of the best bad guys I've ever seen on screen. Watching him in the police station with the sheriff at the beginning of the movie ... damn. Creepy.

I'll be shocked if it doesn't take the Oscar for Best Film and Best Director(s). Unfortunately, due to none of the actors dominating the screen time, I'm also pretty sure that Best Actor will go to Daniel Day-Lewis for There Will Be Blood.
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Old 02-11-2008, 12:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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granted, the cinematography, editing, acting, and much of the dialog were top-notch, but you have to admit that ending was balls.

the whole experience of a movie is taking a character from a beginning to an end.. like keith said, the end is the hardest part.. it's easy to just stop telling a story. it's making it end at the right moment, where the audience feels they get your point that's the difficult part.

if the guy who found the money was the protagonist, we should have seen his death, and it should have been dramatic. when they just showed him lying dead, i didn't even recognize him, i thought it was some random mexican dude.. if you're going to kill the person that seems to be the main character.. you can't make it that vague.

if javier is the main character, you can't just show him running down the street with a broken arm.. if your point is that he lives on, show him dying at 80 or something.. for all i know, someone kills him when he gets down the block.

i love the coen brothers and i still love the movie, but they should have a) showed the death of the man you're constantly worried about the whole movie, b) ended it before the pointless car wreck, and c) made javier's philosophy a little clearer (it's really not that difficult to justify murder with philosophy, and his reasoning was muddled at best)
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Old 02-11-2008, 12:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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i read 'no country for old men' when it came out in 2005 and i can remember thinking, 'please god, please somebody make this into a movie'

'oil!' by upton sinclair, on which 'there will be blood' is only loosely based, bears little resemblance to its source material, however if you liked 'no country for old men' the movie, you owe it to yourself to read the book. they're very similar, and the book contains a lot more monologuing by sheriff bell
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Old 02-11-2008, 12:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Niether Josh Brolin or Javier Bardem was the main character. Tommy Lee Jones was. He is who we start with and who we end with and is the "old man" that the title refers to. While most of the time is spent with Brolin, he isn't who matters.

And I don't have to admit the ending was balls. I think it was the perfect ending. Brolin was killed by some Mexican guys. His part of the story is over. Chigurh continues his relentless killing path, and TLJ retires and contemplates how unnecessary he is now. I don't know what more you could want.
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Old 02-11-2008, 12:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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my favorite thing to say to people that saw it and were irked by the 'non ending' was, 'well how would you have wanted it to end?'

and i never got a straight answer out of anybody
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Old 02-11-2008, 12:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I don't know what more you could want.
i just said what i wanted.
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Old 02-11-2008, 12:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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my favorite thing to say to people that saw it and were irked by the 'non ending' was, 'well how would you have wanted it to end?'

and i never got a straight answer out of anybody
that's EXACTLY it. What - you want this big rock'em sock'em shoot out? You want to have Chigurh killed by the car crash? Did you actually see the movie leading UP to that? It's like a horror movie where everyone dies, and the bad guy survives. Bell is the only one who "survived" but he's deaded inside because of it.

Chigurh walks away, bruised but ready to continue on his evil path. You "can't stop evil" is one of the main themes, and it's the choices WE make that matter, not the outcome.

And on another note - how fuckin' great was Woody Harrelson's character? Sure he got VERY little screen time, but he was this cocky sonofabitch to start, and then turned into a meek, whimpering nothing before Chigurh shot him without even so much as flinching. He got in Chigurh's way, you don't get in Chigurh's way and live.

Tommy Lee Jones as Bell - supporting actor? Fuck you film people. Without Bell, the movie would have been pointless. He's in the "Best Actor" category but your walls are so small, you'll never see that.

And I swear to god, even though I haven't seen it - If Atonement wins best picture, ugh. I'm sure it's great, but still. It's tough to hold a candle to anything like this.
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Old 02-11-2008, 12:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by andsoitgoes View Post
And on another note - how fuckin' great was Woody Harrelson's character? Sure he got VERY little screen time, but he was this cocky sonofabitch to start, and then turned into a meek, whimpering nothing before Chigurh shot him without even so much as flinching. He got in Chigurh's way, you don't get in Chigurh's way and live.
spoiler alert

one small difference between the book and the movie is that in the book, right before chigurh shoots carson wells, carson puts his hand in front of his face (lolz) and gets half of it shot to bits, in addition to getting the back of his head blown out. i wanted to see how that'd look in the movie but they left the part with the hand out, boo
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Old 02-11-2008, 12:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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i just said what i wanted.
each character was taken from beginning to end.

Llewelyn - His greed, his unwillingness to sacrifice ended up his failure. He was killed for this, and not even by Chiguhr - but the mexicans.

Carla Jean - Her strength, her choice not to let a coin toss decide her fate, and the fact that in the end, all she wanted was her old life back. She won, even in death.

Chiguhr - THe "pointless" car accident was far from pointless, if he'd had died - it would have been. The fact that he walked away shows that as much as we hate evil, as much as it deserves to be stopped, it won't be. His philosophy? He was the embodiment of evil. His killing was his drug - for him, as can be discerned from that very opening scene. That look was equivalent to a shot of heroin by a junkie. His purpose in this world was to kill, he didn't need reason, however he found it in these mundane tasks like "get the money back" - it gave him purpose. He was methodical, which is why he used the weapon he did. He liked walking in, unassuming and kill. He took no trophies, he made no mess. Why do you need to have a killer with some ulterior motive? Maybe sometimes a duck is just a duck.

Bell - He dies, his life, his purpose has been lost. He could save Llewelyn, he couldn't save Carla Jean, and he couldn't stop Chiguhr. He failed, and now he has retired because of his failures. A man like that retiring is death, his purpose was to uphold the law, and he failed.

I think that makes things a perfect circle, actually.
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