No Country For Old Men (2007)

No country for younger women, either.

Some of my literary-minded friends are big fans of Cormac McCarthy, but I’ve never read his work.  After watching this movie, I’m not sure that I want to start.  I have trouble getting behind a film so abstruse.  It’s hard to talk about this movie without spoilers, such as they are, so you’ve been warned now.

The film centers around three characters, who are indirectly tied to each other.  There’s Anton, the psychopathic killer off on a killing spree that is apparently (but not clearly, to me) connected to the random Mexican shootout-style execution in the desert.  That’s where the second character, Llewelyn (an unusually popular name for these Coen Brothers’ films), comes in.  He’s stumbled upon a truckload of heroin and a satchel of money, which sets Anton on his trail with often mystical precision.  Then, just for the hell of it, there’s a sheriff, Ed Tom, who seems to be investigating the string of murders, but doesn’t seem very good at the job considering he never comes close to catching the bad guy.

Maybe I just wasn’t paying close enough attention, but I didn’t really get what was happening most of the time, beyond the immediate danger of someone escaping the obvious fate of a weird air-pumped bullet to the face.  Stuff happened, and then it stopped happening, and I was left wondering what the hell the point was.  Even one of the main characters randomly died off-camera, with absolutely no fanfare, such that I wasn’t even sure he was actually dead until the end credits roll.  Sure, I suppose I’m just a sucker for clear narrative arcs and relatable characters.  If I had to sum up my experience with this film, it would be:  “Um, what?”

Oh, and just in case my feelings are not yet clear, I’d like to complain about the affectation of the characters’ speech, specifically that of Ed Tom.  Okay, maybe there are in fact people who say “fixin’ to” do stuff and all that, but in this movie, to me, it just comes off as forced “country” talk, too affected for the characters to feel totally genuine.  It’s dialogue for people who aren’t country folk but want to pretend to be a macho Western sheriff for a while.  That’s fine, I guess, but that’s not me.

Many of my friends (probably even some of you reading this right now) are fans of the Coen Brothers.  I guess Fargo was okay, but I didn’t see the appeal of The Big Lebowski, and I’ve probably not seen any of the others.  What am I missing?


Theme:  Crime Spree

First Time Watching?  Yes, and last

Final Verdict:  Just a coin





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