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Saturday, April 05, 2008

No Country For Old Men


Recently watched "No Country For Old Men" and I must say it was really good. Not sure if it was Oscar Best Picture good but still very good. Reminds of the classic Coen Brothers movie "Blood Simple". And Javier Bardem really is creepy and a great serial killer. Thought it was odd to hear comparisons to Hannibal Lector but that is not so far fetched.

There does seem to be a lot of confusion around the ending. And I will agree that the ending is abrupt and confusing. But it does force you to think and ultimately I think is appropriate. From my perspective, there are 2 major concerns that should be addressed. First, the death of Llewelyn Moss. Then, the abrupt ending.

The death of Llewelyn Moss is less problematic to me. I somewhat agree that on first glance there appears to be a missing scene. But did we really need to see the Mexicans kill Llewelyn to know they killed him. It was actually clearly set up that they killed him. And then there is the killing off of the main character and the good guy. Well, get over it. The world can be a dangerous place. And sometimes the good guys don't win. If the bad guys always lost then no one would ever be bad. I actually found it refreshing to have Llewelyn killed. Sure it was unsettling. We have been conditioned to see the good guy prevail regardless of the odds. But the point of the movie would not allow Llewelyn to live. His fate was determined the moment he discovered the money. He was going to die. It was not unlike the coin toss Anton did with the gas station owner. It was not a matter of whether he would be killed but when and by whom. There is evil in the world, it has always existed and will always exist. This was clearly shown in the Anton character, gloriously played by Javier Bardem. It is ruthless and at times random, at times purposeful, and at times random. When it is your time all you can do is extend your life. But eventually you will tracked down. And there are many different places it may come. Trying to run from one will only result in another side taking you down. It is these deeper meanings and themes that really excite me about the Coen Brothers. The symbolism and themes in "Barton Fink" are what make it one of my favorite movies. It demands and rewards repeated viewings. Similarly, "No Country For Old Men" should do the same.

Now there is the abrupt ending. As a disclaimer, I am just giving dimestore analysis so feel free to beat me up for my analysis. But after I realized the movie actually ended (not unlike The Sopranos ending), I started to think. In a weird way, I think it was perfect. As far as action goes, nothing was resolved. We did not know what ultimately happened with Anton. Did he confront the Mexicans? Did the Mexicans attack him? Know what? It doesn't matter. The point was there is no resolution with violence and evil. It's progress is perpetual. Even if the Mexicans took out Anton, it would not end. There would still be the continuing violence. And if Anton killed the Mexicans, there would definitely be some more people out for him. Violence has been here forever and will continue forever. There is no start and there is no end. Which is why the ending without a resolution was so perfect. It's exactly what Tommy Lee Jones' character realized at the end, well sorta. While he realized this, he didn't want to admit it. So he acted as if he didn't understand the world around him. It was too painful (and abrupt) to admit his life, based on stopping violence, was futile. It was much easier to say he did not understand the world than admit the truth. But deep down it was clear he got it.

Movies like "No Country For Old Men" are invigorating because they are so rewarding. They demand discussion. And they treat the audience as intelligence beings. I absolutely loved this movie and highly recommend it.

Tags:

movies No Country For Old Men Oscars ending violence fate Coen Brothers

2 Comments:

Blogger Mike K said...

I thought this was pretty awesome movie. I saw it a couple of weeks ago and I still think about it every day. It's that good.

As far as Best Oscar picture. It's about time the academy did something right. It's unconventional and rarely does that win.

4/06/2008 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger Tom G said...

I agree. I saw it Friday and have been thinking about it ever since. Those are the types of movies I love. Well, that and well done comedies. Really excited to see "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", especially after the great review on Ebert & Roeper.

Have fun in Detroit!

4/08/2008 03:02:00 PM  

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