$2.50 Reviews: No Country for Old Men (2007)

$2.50 Reviews:

No Country for Old Men

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No Country for Old Men is a 2007 thriller film written and directed by the Coen Brothers. Starring Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem and Tommy Lee Jones, the film follows the three leads all on similar, yet different paths. Brolin plays Llewelyn Moss, someone who happened to find a large sum of money. Bardem plays Anton Chigurh, a hitman hired to recover the money, while Jones plays Sheriff Ed Tom, a man who always seems to be steps behind each of the first two characters.

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Brolin plays his role really well

The most prominently featured of the three characters is Llewelyn Moss. He gets the most amount of screen time, as well as the majority of the important moments. Originally shown to us as an "everyman" sort of character, we quickly realize that he is far more resourceful than the average person. Constantly on the run, getting shot, (and hit), as well as figuring out clever places to hide the money that he found, Llewelyn really is far smarter than he looks. This holds true with the man hunting him as well, as he constantly manages to find Llewelyn, as well as determine where people are with relative ease. The sheriff on the other hand, isn't quite that smart. He usually ends up being a couple steps behind Llewelyn, and at least one step behind Anton. An unsatisfying choice, as it means that the three never really get to meet up.

The fact that no real climax occurs is pretty the biggest problem I have with the film. Teased throughout the entire film is the potential encounter of all three men meeting one another. Sadly, this never actually happens, leaving a slight feeling of emptiness after the film ends. There is even a fairly big build up towards the end, but it just kind of fizzles out into nothingness. It almost seems like the Coen Brothers wanted to see if they could outdo the ending of the Sopranos. It's not quite as bad as that, but it still harms the overall quality of the film.

Apart from the ending, the film was really well made. The acting was very good, with each character playing their part nicely. Josh Brolin especially sold me on his character. Javier Bardem plays an emotionless killer, almost reminiscent of the very first terminator. I didn't like Tommy Lee Jones' character quite as much, but pinpointing why is a struggle. It might be due to the fact that his character never manages to figure out easy connections throughout the story, despite the fact that he is sometimes the one explaining them to the audience. Even though I didn't personally like the character, Jones' portrayal of him was just fine, as was the way the film was made.

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I'm still not quite sure what it up with his haircut

One of the amazing things about the film was the way it was made. It was shot beautifully, acted well, and the dialogue was quite good. Some very subtle humor was added, and that didn't detract from the serious tone of the film. The dialogue felt real and alive. The dialogue helped bring the characters to life as well. The one problem I did have with it was that there were a couple scenes where it felt like it ran on too long. There were a few times where characters would continue talking about things that really didn't matter, and while it tried to flesh out their character, it disconnected more than it immersed. These scenes didn't happen that often, but detracted slightly from what the film was trying to get across.

No Country for Old Men is a film worth watching, but don't be surprised if it lets you down near the end. An incredibly important story shift isn't even shown on screen, but instead off-camera. I'm sure that scene and the ending were made just to generate more discussion on the story than there would be otherwise, but I find it in poor taste. Looking past the ending though, the film is great. It's well acted, has great dialogue, and is shot wonderfully. Add in a better ending, and it is a superb film. As it is, it's very good, and still highly recommended.

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Ah good, I'm glad someone agrees with me on the ending. It's actually a very common trend in Coen Brothers movies that the ending really doesn't have much of a climax, which is always such as disappointment as they're very good at building the tension, and yet they always fumble the ball right in the last ten minutes. Even The Big Lebowski and Fargo, their two best films, don't really have very impactful endings, and instead kind of just fizzle out.

I think when it comes to No Country for Old Men however, there is some meaning behind the ending. I'm not quite sure what it is, but I've heard a lot of people talk about it, and in particular Tommy Lee Jones' monologue right at the tail end of the movie. As I've said, I don't really see much significance to it, but maybe someone more intellectual than me would get it.

Really good review, but there's one very small thing. You said 'flush' in paragraph six when discussing the characters, when I think you meant 'flesh'.

No mention of Anton Chigurh's coin or air gun thing? For shame! If I was going to attempt to convince someone of watching this movie other than pointing out its success at the Oscars, I would mention those two items.

Otherwise, great review. I loved the ending myself, it was more "real" than a car chase or an explosion.

FargoDog:
Really good review, but there's one very small thing. You said 'flush' in paragraph six when discussing the characters, when I think you meant 'flesh'.

I definitely did not do that at all. Quit tollin' me boi!

AvsJoe:
No mention of Anton Chigurh's coin or air gun thing? For shame! If I was going to attempt to convince someone of watching this movie other than pointing out its success at the Oscars, I would mention those two items.

I was going to, but couldn't figure out a good way to phrase it properly, in relation to the rest of the review.

Marter:
leaving a slight feeling of emptiness after the film ends.

To me this was the point of the film, and the bit that affected me the most. As frustrating as it was, I liked that it pulled the rug from under me and showed the dangerous cat and mouse game crash back to reality.

I don't want to go all spoilery, so suffice to say I fucking love this film.

FargoDog:
I think when it comes to No Country for Old Men however, there is some meaning behind the ending. I'm not quite sure what it is, but I've heard a lot of people talk about it, and in particular Tommy Lee Jones' monologue right at the tail end of the movie. As I've said, I don't really see much significance to it, but maybe someone more intellectual than me would get it.

I think the whole point of the ending was to show that Tommy Lee Jones' character was beaten by the crime he was supposed to fight.

Just before the end there's a scene where Jones is standing infront of the hotel crime scene, but he's very hesitant at going in. At the same time you see Anton standing on the other side of the door with a readied shotgun and an insane look in his eye. Now, wether Anton is really standing there or if it's just Jones' imagination, point is that it signifies that regular police forces are totally helpless against the inhumanity of such large crime syndicates wich Anton kind of symbolizes. I don't know if this makes sense, but that's how I see it.

And when you think about it, No Country For Old Men and Fargo are almost identical in the three main characterisations:

-Llewelyn Moss and Jerry Lundergard: Men who dip there toes in the criminal world, but soon find that they're way in over there heads.

-Anton Chigurh and Gaear Grimsrud: Psychopatic killers.

-Ed Tom and Marge Gunderson: Level-headed police sheriffs who always seem to be one step behind.

The only difference is that Fargo's ending is much more positive while No Country's ending is just plain depressive.

Casual Shinji:
I think the whole point of the ending was to show that Tommy Lee Jones' character was beaten by the crime he was supposed to fight.

Just before the end there's a scene where Jones is standing infront of the hotel crime scene, but he's very hesitant at going in. At the same time you see Anton standing on the other side of the door with a readied shotgun and an insane look in his eye. Now, wether Anton is really standing there or if it's just Jones' imagination, point is that it signifies that regular police forces are totally helpless against the inhumanity of such large crime syndicates wich Anton kind of symbolizes. I don't know if this makes sense, but that's how I see it.

And when you think about it, No Country For Old Men and Fargo are almost identical in the three main characterisations:

-Llewelyn Moss and Jerry Lundergard: Men who dip there toes in the criminal world, but soon find that they're way in over there heads.

-Anton Chigurh and Gaear Grimsrud: Psychopatic killers.

-Ed Tom and Marge Gunderson: Level-headed police sheriffs who always seem to be one step behind.

The only difference is that Fargo's ending is much more positive while No Country's ending is just plain depressive.

I was more specifically speaking about the dream Jones' character speaks out about at the end, the one involving his father. But you make some extremely good points about the whole thing, and I would go as far to say as it isn't just about the purely aesthetic view of the police force versus the larger criminal world, but far more a battle between good and evil, with Tom representing the good and Chigurh representing an unstoppable evil.

As for Fargo, I found it to be just as bleak as No Country. Lundergard is clearly corrupted by the end of the film, and while Gunderson has found and stopped Grimsrud, she still couldn't really stop him. There's still evil in the world, and she realises that. All she's really done is stopped a tiny part of it, and that's all she really can do as she is such an insignificant character in the larger scheme of things.

That shotgun was awesome, made a kewl Whhhooosh-PEW sound. The title says it all, the United States is no place for old men to fight crime in cause that's batman's job.

Marter:
Apart from the ending, the film was really well made.

So because you don't like the ending it's not well made? This type of ending doesn't work with all films but people who need a standard climactic ending to give them a feeling of closure are from my experience generally less sophisticated and perhaps shouldn't be reviewing films. Also this is the ending from the book I'm not sure if you're aware that it was a Cormac McCarthy novel first.

Limzz:

Marter:
Apart from the ending, the film was really well made.

So because you don't like the ending it's not well made? This type of ending doesn't work with all films but people who need a standard climactic ending to give them a feeling of closure are from my experience generally less sophisticated and perhaps shouldn't be reviewing films. Also this is the ending from the book I'm not sure if you're aware that it was a Cormac McCarthy novel first.

I'm pretty sure he was looking at it from two different angles. He disliked the ending through personal opinion, but he liked the rest of the film. Perhaps Marter did not use the best choice of words, but he got his point across. And because he didn't like the ending, which I didn't either and know of several professional critics who disliked it also, he shouldn't be reviewing films? Get over yourself.

FargoDog:
As for Fargo, I found it to be just as bleak as No Country. Lundergard is clearly corrupted by the end of the film, and while Gunderson has found and stopped Grimsrud, she still couldn't really stop him. There's still evil in the world, and she realises that. All she's really done is stopped a tiny part of it, and that's all she really can do as she is such an insignificant character in the larger scheme of things.

Yeah, but it hasn't broken her spirit.

At the end of No Country, Ed Tom sits at the table with the crushing realization that not only did evil prevail, but it's an evil that nobody is able to defeat. And this sensation is going to stay with him for the rest of his life.

At the end of Fargo, Marge - eventhough it falls upon deaf ears - still tries to talk some sense into Grimsrud about the redundancy of money compared to human life. And then she ends by regarding what a beautifull day it is. One could see this as Marge just being ignorant in the face of the evils that men do, but there's this true unyielding sincerity in her voice when she speaks to him. Still one of my favourite scenes ever.

Casual Shinji:

FargoDog:
As for Fargo, I found it to be just as bleak as No Country. Lundergard is clearly corrupted by the end of the film, and while Gunderson has found and stopped Grimsrud, she still couldn't really stop him. There's still evil in the world, and she realises that. All she's really done is stopped a tiny part of it, and that's all she really can do as she is such an insignificant character in the larger scheme of things.

Yeah, but it hasn't broken her spirit.

At the end of No Country, Ed Tom sits at the table with the crushing realization that not only did evil prevail, but it's an evil that nobody is able to defeat. And this sensation is going to stay with him for the rest of his life.

At the end of Fargo, Marge - eventhough it falls upon deaf ears - still tries to talk some sense into Grimsrud about the redundancy of money compared to human life. And then she ends by regarding what a beautifull day it is. One could see this as Marge just being ignorant in the face of the evils that men do, but there's this true unyielding sincerity in her voice when she speaks to him. Still one of my favourite scenes ever.

I felt that she was simply confronting something she didn't understand, an evil she had never encountered before and that she didn't quite know how to deal with it. She tries treating Grimsrud as a person, and lays morals upon him, but really he is just an entity, and in her simple life with her fairly simple husband, that's something new to her. She can't see the world on a large scale, and see the evil everywhere, instead choosing to work within her realms of possibility, so when something enters her world that is unfathomable and unexplainable, more of a concept than an earthbound human being, it's so strange and alien to her she decides she can't really do anything about it, which is why at the end there's the scene of her and her husband just talking about the duck stamps, rather than what happened that day. It's an ordinary evening, and that's all she knows. It's what's familiar to her.

Either way, for what is on the surface a fairly simple thriller with good dialogue, it has so many layers of depth that different people see from different angles. Fargo is such a wonderful film, really.

Limzz:
So because you don't like the ending it's not well made? This type of ending doesn't work with all films but people who need a standard climactic ending to give them a feeling of closure are from my experience generally less sophisticated and perhaps shouldn't be reviewing films. Also this is the ending from the book I'm not sure if you're aware that it was a Cormac McCarthy novel first.

Oh, believe me, I'm well aware that this is film is based on McCarthy's novel.

As for the more or less personal attack...that's your choice. Don't read the reviews, and add me to your "ignore list". I really wouldn't care. To say that I should review things...that's a little uncalled for, especially because it wasn't just because the ending didn't have a climax. Plus, you know very little about me, so seriously, take those comments elsewhere, they aren't required.

No, I didn't like the ending. Was the ending even handled properly? In my opinion, not really. Not having a proper climax, one that they did spend a lot of the film building up to, is a problem in my eyes. It didn't need one, sure, but even if it didn't, the way the film ended could have been better. I'm not just talking about Ed Tom's dialogue, I'm talking about when

 

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