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No Country For Old Men (2007) Dir Coen Brothers. Reel Cinema, Hull

A hunter stumbles on a host of dead bodies, a large amount of heroin and the small matter of $2 million in hard cash, but this is only the start of his troubles….


The Coen Brothers are master filmmakers and I would not hesitate to place the Big Lebowski and especially Fargo in my all time Top Fifty.


They have this amazing ability to capture character and atmosphere with the minimum of script and words are never wasted. Every scene and the character interaction are integral to what is going on. Fargo in particular uses silence brilliantly and the Brothers demand, and receive only the best from their cast.


The opening of No Country For Old Men once again captures the soul of America via the cinematography, conveying the innate weirdness of life out side the mainstream city scapes which largely define our perceptions of the place.


Lewellyn Moss (Josh Brolin), trailer trash extraordinaire is the (un) lucky man who makes the grim discovery whilst out hunting near the Rio Grande in Texas.


Deciding to keep the money brings the unwelcome attention of Oscar nominated Javier Bardem who plays the chillingly psychotic killer Anton Chigurth, a man not willing to give up the money lightly and will go to any lengths to punish those who get in his way. A weird home made bolt gun being his weapon of choice.


This role is brilliantly written and laconically, but menacingly played by Bardem and deserves to be short-listed for the Best Actor in a Supporting Role Gong. Watch out for the gas station scene, a Coen Brothers trademark of minimum producing maximum effect.


The picture is well paced and we get into the skin of the characters, although Kelly McDonald is a little Cletus (Simpsons reference) for my liking, and she is obviously influenced by Sissy Spacek in Badlands, but that’s being nit picking about a fantastic ensemble performance.


I liked Tommy Lee Jones as the slightly barking Sheriff, but my main gripe about the film regards the ending.


Matters seem to be concluded but the narrative continues and I started to speculate about how the makers were going to end the thing, which means the natural flow of the picture had gone somewhat.


Thus I left the cinema feeling a bit unresolved, and our discussions in the car (and what a car it is. Pete has an X plate Jag) centred on dissatisfaction with the ending.



 Having mulled over the matter, I think that No Country For Old Men is a very good film and I would go along with the acting Nomination regarding the Oscars, but Best Picture is another matter as I have seen a few superior films this year.


About dermotrathbone

Writer and co author "Through Red Lenses". Activist Unite the Union, Save Our NHS Hull. Fan of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Hull FC, Munster and Ireland Rugby. Views are mine alone and may not reflect the organisations concerned.


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