Must See Film: No Country For Old Men

As a recently converted fan of Cormac McCarthy’s fiction (I have read The Road and All the Pretty Horses and will soon read The Crossing) and a long-time fan of the Coen brothers’ films.  I am very intrigued about the upcoming release of  the film No Country for Old Men. Set for release on November 21st, No Country has been making the rounds of various film festivals.  Nathaniel R. of  Film Experience Blog had this to say after watching the film at the 45th Annual New York Film Festival.

“From all reports it’s adapted quite faithfully from the acclaimed novel by Cormac McCarthy. The Coen Bros 12th feature doesn’t compromise. There’s no musical score to speak of and little to comfort the audience within its bleak world view beyond the well judged comedic grace notes that are character based rather than jokey.  . . . Mesmerizing movie.  More later as Oscar season approaches… but there’s one inevitable element: Javier Bardem will be nominated (Lead or supporting though, who knows? The cast is strong across the board but his character, the violent sociopath Anton Chigurh, dominates the film the way Hopkins dominated Silence of the Lambs or Daniel Day-Lewis dominated Gangs of New York though neither were in fact the “lead”).

If you are interested in seeing the most recent theatrical trailer for the film, the best one can be found here, though you can find many low quality versions on youtube.  Many people are raving about this film.  One reviewer on IMDB gives all of the performances a “thumbs up.”  He writes:

Perfectly cast is Tommy Lee Jones. He nails it, the crowd goes wild etc… That’s expected though. . . . Kelly Macdonald will have to do something else to prove to me she really isn’t the Clara Jean character she portrayed even though I know she is a Scot. Woody Harrelson, who I think gets too much praise sometimes, is at his best here and actually manages not to get blown off the screen (well sorta) by Javier Bordem. [And] Mr. Bordem’s performance is a force, much like the character he portrays. His Chigurh is a representation of the lunacy of violence that exists in society. There is no negotiations with it, it has always been here and it will always be here. It/he leaves us in shock and terror and all we can do is… ???

James Rocchi, who saw the film at Cannes in May, praises the cinematography and goes on to add:

No Country for Old Men is one of the most suspenseful films the Coens have ever made, which says a lot. Cormac McCarthy’s novel has also been impressively well-adapted . . . [But] with all of the seemingly standard-issue thriller plot devices in the piece — money, guns and trouble — there’s a dim chance that some might not catch the smaller, subtler themes of No Country for Old Men, which would be a shame; this is a story about death, not just murder; this is a story about want, not just money; this is a story of principle, not just pursuit.

No Country for Old Men is a morality tale written in blood and muzzle flashes, but all of the shock and power in the close-quarters lunge and rush of it can’t hide that it’s also a serious, thoughtful work of art that lies uneasy in your mind long after it’s stirred your blood. The film may have headlong gun battles down dark alleys and range across borders in as the characters follow each other through the West, but what it really explores is the human soul: How we live, how we die, what we regret, what we fear.

Finally, if you want to read more of the early buzz about the film, I suggest visiting its page on Rotten Tomatoes here.  I don’t know where you will be and what you will be doing the weekend after Thanksgiving, but I do know where I will be and what I will be doing.  I will be at my local cineplex, watching this film.

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