Thursday, December 27, 2007

No Film for Young Men

For the first 110 minutes of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, I thought it had a chance of being the best film of the year, as well as one of the Coen's best films. There are a lot of great things about the film. It is very much in the vein of their first film, BLOOD SIMPLE, and very Hitchcockian in tone. There's some fantastic acting, cinematography and sound work. It's a film with virtually no dialogue, and very little music. The action in many scenes is in real time, frequently with characters who are alone.

Badim's badass is one of the most frightening screen creations in a while. His subtle acting talents only add to the strong script. Tommy Lee Jones is also good, but the real surprise is Josh Brolin, who apparently had to shoot his own audition tape in order to get considered for the role.

I have to discuss the ending now. I'll try not to spoil it (if that's even possible) but if you don't want to know anything about the end, stop reading here. The film is worth seeing, but be prepared for a letdown at the end.

SPOILERS!

Unfortunately, any film is only as good as its ending, and there's a bad taste left in the mouth when the ending is, well, a rip. Major, major action occurs off-screen, but worse than that, there is no sense of finality about the end. Normally I like films that don't feel the need to wrap every thing up by hitting it on the head, but here, there is no sense of closure, just a pretentious cut to black, not unlike the SOPRANOS series finale. It just doesn't work. In the end, the film doesn't add up to very much.
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