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Movie Review: "No Country For Old Men" (spoiler -- it's good)

I just saw "No Country for Old Men" [link] (96% Tomatometer). The movie is based on the titular novel by Cormac McCarthy, directed by the Coen Brothers, and stars Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, and Josh Brolin. It's a powerful movie in many ways, and one that I think is worth seeing in the theater.

Some of the Coen Brothers' best-known movies are dark comedies about outlaws on the lam: Raising Arizona, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, and O Brother Where Art Thou. Forget typical comedy here. There are some quality moments sprinkled throughout the script, but there's also a relentless tension here; humor and menace are the two indivisible sides of this coin.

The plot is likewise vintage Coen: a man obtains something of value, something unlawful, and runs from the people who want it back. It's frankly not that important. The reason I'm writing this, and urging you to see it, is that this is one of the best films about man-as-animal that I have ever seen. The film's bleak landscapes and unforgiving antagonist strip the other characters down to the base primordial human nature that we all come into contact with on occasion, and usually recoil from. This movie is about tracking, blood trails, sniffing the surroundings for danger, licking wounds, and defending spoils from rivals. The sparse dialogue serves to heighten this sense of inhabiting a primal world.

I'll tell you now that this movie does not have a traditional climax, and the ending is abrupt -- and, given the power of the rest of the movie, oddly powerless. Perhaps that was the intent. I don't really feel that it detracted from the movie, though. Most of the violence is peppered throughout the movie in brief, shocking bursts; the ending itself achieves the same effect through a different means.

No numerical scores; go see this if you're a student of human nature. It's been out for a few weeks, so catch it while it's still in the theater. If you complained about the gritty realism and lack of car crashes in Live Free or Die Hard, you might want to sit this one out.

I mean it gets 11/10! Thanks for the donation, Miramax!

I said "titular"!
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About MaxVestone of us since 9:23 PM on 06.03.2007

It's only a model...

Uncommon, some wear on the edges.

First game: TI Invaders (Space Invaders knock-off) for the TI-99 "home computer". Either that or the Pac-Man built into the glass-top tables at Mr. Gatti's Pizza.
First console: NES
First world-altering game secret: JUSTIN BAILEY
First Arcade: Aladdin's Palace
First "mature" game: Leisure Suit Larry
First PC: 386SX 16 mHz w/40 MB HDD, Win 3.0, & 640x480 VGA baby!
First FPS: Wolfenstein 3D
First game mastered: Street Fighter II Turbo - Hyper Fighting (SNES)
First LAN deathmatch: Duke Nukem 3D
Great Game Reawakening: Living in an apartment with all sixth generation consoles and 3 gaming rigs.

New Systems: Wii, DS.
Somehow now owns: PS3
Randomly owns: SEGA Nomad, Game Gear, Genesis II, Sega CD
Cannot afford but is thinking about intercepting return RROD coffin: Xbox 360.
Currently playing: Rock Band, Zack & Wiki, Unreal Tournament III