Untimely Reviews – “No Country for Old Men”

Do not let the image to the left fool you. I do not own a Blu-Ray player. I did not see "No Country for Old Men" in high definition wide-screen format. I wish I had.

Sometimes a movie is so amazingly great that it transcends itself. "Pulp Fiction" comes to mind as one of these kinds of movies. These instant classics convey a compelling story and show us intriguing characters but the spectator experience is uplifted by how the movie was filmed. These movies are art and "No Country for Old Men" is simply the best art I have seen in years. A friend of mine was asked if he loved it and he responded, "love is not a strong enough word to describe how I feel about this movie." That's about the best accolade a movie can get.

All of the principal players in this movie could have been awarded an Oscar for their performance. Javier Bardem did win an award for his chilling role of a complicated madman. Tommy Lee Jones provided one of his best performances ever as a Texas sheriff burnt-out from what he sees as an increasingly violent world. Josh Brolin is unerapreciated, in my opinion, for his very down-to-earth portrayal of a the ordinary guy on the run from an extraordinary killer. Special kudos should also go to the large cast of ordinary looking folk such as the man who plays a befuddled gas station attendant desperate to end an ever more akward conversation with Javier Bardem's assasin.

The real star of this film is its own cinametography. Perhaps the first 1/3 of this film is dominated by a desolate Texas landscape that never looked so good. This film also makes use of clever shot that deftly tell us what has happened or what will happen. The film also brings ordinary places to life. Cheap hotel rooms and trailer homes have never before come to life as they do in this film. Much of the beauty of this fim is wasted on an old fashioned standard definition television, of course. Mark Twain may have said "You will always regret the things you didn't do". I truly regret passing up the opportunity to see this film in a theater. Do not make my mistake, see this movie the right way!

Despite all of the accolades from critics and me, some people did not like this movie. My wife for instance, did not care as much for it as I did. Her complaints were few but stong: there is graphic violence and blood and many scenes are slow and expository, as I'm sure the book was. In defense of this movie, the blood and gore show the real consequences of violence. The movie also has a statement to make about violence that is well told through its characters and well conveyed by the brilliant cast of actors. There is nothing wasted in this film; some scenes are diamonds, but each scene is a gem.

I rate this movie as 5 out of 5 "must see"s. You must see it. You must see it. You must see it. You must see it. You must see it.

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