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» One Touch Football - Archive » Film » No Country for Old Men (Page 1)

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Author Topic: No Country for Old Men
Reed
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Saw it last night because it was getting outstanding reviews.

I haven't read the book.

I can certainly understand why many critics are saying this is a wonderful return to form for the Cohen Brothers. I was excited to hear that since Fargo is probably my favorite film of all time.

This has a lot in common with Fargo, not only because it's about crime, but that it emphasizes the music of the local dialect - in this case, West Texas.

Great performances all around - Javier Bardem is very good as the bad guy - I'd never seen him before. Also, great jobs by Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones and Kelly MacDonald. Surprisingly, none of the usual Cohen Brothers Repetoire Company are in this - no Frances McDormand, no John Goodman, no John Tutorro, etc.

It does all of those very things well and is worth seeing because of it, but what I didn't like about it was it's infuriating unwillingness to explain what IN THE FUCK was going on in the story.

******************spoilers********************

So many characters are unexplained. Who is Woody Harleson supposed to be? Who is his boss? Drug dealers maybe? It's not clear. Who were those guys that the main bad-guy (Chiguhr?) kills at the main crime scene? What happens to Llewellyn? It sort of implies that he gets whacked, but then implies that he's still alive somewhere with the money. The preponderance of evidence suggests the latter possibility, but it's not clear. And who was that guy Ellis with all the cats played by the guy from Northern Exposure? Is he the Sherrif's uncle? The former Sherrif? It's not clear. It's not clear why the Sherrif went out there to talk to him? Who is Chiguhr, exactly? Who were those other guys that he killed in the hotel - clearly they were after the money too and were involved in the drugs business because they had uzis? Come to think of it, the whole Hotel business was confused. Lewellyn has both rooms back to back. He puts the money in the vent in room 38 and then extracts it from 138, right? Well then what room was it that Chiguhr enters and finds empty? What room had those three guys that he wastes? Very confusing. I guess I'll have to get the DVD.

And what happened to the drugs?

And then it just all ends without explaining any of this - just the Sherrif retelling an obscure dream he had about his father.

WTF?

I suppose that the point of the story is the characters and, most importantly, how the Sherrif is facing getting older and all of that.

But contrast it to Fargo, where you had great characters and a very tight plot that unfolded very logically right through to the end.

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Mitch
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Blood Simple was set in Texas wasn't it? I was expecting a bigger-budget remake of that movie.

Which would be a good idea anyway. But I'm really looking forward to seeing this.

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Hieronymus Bosch
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I watched this tonight. I thought it was absolutely magnificent -- it made me sit bolt upright on at least eight or nine different occasions, and it's a long time since a film did that to me.



******************** SPOILER ******************

The ending was utterly appalling. It was like the air being slowly let out of a tyre. I'm assuming the book concluded the same way. The ending was so lame and wretched that it almost poisoned the (superb) rest of the film for me.

quote:
What happens to Llewellyn? It sort of implies that he gets whacked, but then implies that he's still alive somewhere with the money. The preponderance of evidence suggests the latter possibility, but it's not clear.
Reed, you may have seen a different version from the one I did, but in mine, Llewellyn is shown lying dead, face-up on a motel room floor, his neck caked in dried blood (the shooting does not happen on-screen).

[ 18.01.2008, 12:06: Message edited by: Lieutenant Frank Drebin ]

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Soccer Scrimmage
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heh.
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Loose Cannon ?
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Sounds like a great film but I'm already put off by the apparent level of casual unpredictable violence dealt out by Chigurh.

From what I've read it's quite faithful to the book. Funny writer McCarthy, elegant and fluid but frequently up to his knees in blood, horror & corpses.

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Mitch
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quote:
Llewellyn is shown lying dead, face-up on a motel room floor, his neck caked in dried blood
That's him? I'm with Reed in not noticing that detail. I thought his wife implies that he was still alive?

I thought it was brilliant, but frustrating really; the ending is terrible, but it's only bad because the rest of the film is so sucessful in building up this air of menace. I know that subverting the genre is the Coen's trademark, but, fuck it, this film needed a Eastwood-style showdown at the end.

I think I'll have to read the book to sort out all the plot points I really didn't understand (again, like Reed, I've no idea about that scene in the motel). But I don't know if I can face it; the only book I've read by McCarthy is The Road, and that's the grimmest book I've ever read.

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Hieronymus Bosch
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************************* MORE SPOILERS *************************

Unless I'm going completely mental in my old age, it was Llewellyn dead on the floor. The guy on the floor had the same droopy moustache as him.

The film's Wikipedia entry on the scene in question:

quote:
Bellís, Mossís [i.e. Llewellyn], Chigurhís, the Mexicansí and Carla Jeanís paths all converge on a seedy hotel in El Paso, but not all simultaneously. The others arrive after Moss has been killed by the Mexicans in a bloody shootout at the motel.
************************************************
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Mitch
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Nah, I'm sure you're right. I've got it on DVD, so I'll watch it again to check.

I didn't understand (or like) The Big Lebowski until I'd seen it a couple of times, and that's my favourite film now. This film might be the same.

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Hieronymus Bosch
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At about the 90-minute mark last night I was wondering to myself if this was the best thriller I had ever seen. If it wasn't for that bastard ending . . .
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Loose Cannon ?
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Save me going to the film and post a big spoiler - I've read the wiki description so what more can there be?
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The Moral Animal.
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Pretty much agree with LFD - fantastic film with a disappointing ending.

****SPOILERS*****
For the record, I certainly thought Moss was killed at the end.
****END OF SPOILERS*****

Reed, if you liked Javier Bardem then Mar Adentro is probably worth checking out. He always reminds me of a French rugby forward - the guy's a monster.

Somehow or another - despite the fact that I'm currently reading Blood Meridian and waiting to read The Road - I didn't realise that this was based on a Cormac McCarthy book. I've read that Tommy Lee Jones has the rights to Blood Meridian, which would be one heck of a challenge to film. I was a big fan of his debut (The Three Burials), though, so it's definitely something to look forward to.

[ 18.01.2008, 13:37: Message edited by: The Moral Animal. ]

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The Moral Animal.
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It's definitely worth watching Loose Cannon - can't imagine there's many better films on in the cinema at the moment.
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Soccer Scrimmage
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quote:
I know that subverting the genre is the Coen's trademark
I've seen two Coen bros films in theatres and they've both enraged parts of the audience. About five minutes before the end of Fargo, a woman screamed (and I mean screamed) "This is the worst movie I've ever seen!" and stormed out of the packed theatre. When No Country reached its non-violent conclusion, the guy behind me, who had spent the film oohing and aahhing over the weaponry used by the various character, screamed "That's bullshit!"
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Hieronymus Bosch
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****************** YET ANOTHER SPOILER ******************

I didn't necessarily want a violent ending, just something that had a bit more relevance to the previous 119 minutes than Tommy Lee Jones sitting at a kitchen table talking to his wife about a dream he had.

****************** END OF SPOILER ******************




Javier Bardem was incredible and deserves an Oscar, as does whoever did his make-up. The scene where he talks to the old man in the roadside shop is creepy beyond belief.

The relative lack of music also makes the film that bit more unnerving. There is one scene where you can just about hear, in the background, a very faint and ominous orchestral chord being played. It is barely there and that's what makes it so effective.

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Amor de Cosmos
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I must admit none of the points Reed raised up top really disturbed me that much. I did sort of wonder what happened to Mrs Llewellyn when she refused to play Chiguhr's game but it wasn't a plot killer. An evil has been loosed on the land and we all arrive to late, or too ill-equipped to stop it. That applies to the film's characters and ó via the directors' PoV ó its audience as well. It's a masterful piece of work.

I was reminded of this movie when watching Comanche Moon, the final part of Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove saga this past week. They share more than just a geographical location I think. There's a sense in both stories that personal concerns and tragedies are nothing more than anti-climatic parenthetical events in the greater movement of time. The characters merely specks of dust in an already dusty landscape. Neither stereotype, nor archetype they don't, indeed can't, contribute much. Their constrained lives are irrelevant, except to those who come in contact with them. It's an extremely unromantic, diminished view of humanity and its potential but a very powerful one even so .

[ 18.01.2008, 22:30: Message edited by: Amor de Cosmos ]

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