Monday, November 12, 2007

This weekend I saw the new Coen Brothers film, No Country for Old Men, based on Cormac McCarthy's novel.

Previously, my least favourite Coen Brothers film was the critic's favourite, Fargo, but I've got a new bottom dweller with No Country for Old Men.

(Possible Spoilers upcoming)

Most of the movie is fairly engaging. There are a few dialogue scenes that slow it down and a few characters that show up and then get killed without leaving much of a mark on the story, but Josh Brolin being chased through rural Texas by a psychopath keeps the audience involved.

But the ending is simply atrocious, from all standpoints. It's possible McCarthy is intending his work as a criticism of other modern crime novels, like those of Elmore Leonard, that boil down to confrontations between men to see who is really tougher. There are multiple characters in this movie that, like in Leonard novels, express that they can deal with their opponents but it turns out none of them can. The main character of the movie is killed off-screen in a gun battle, another tough guy character is introduced and then killed off after only 3 scenes and the final confrontation is between the psychopath and the defenseless wife of the main character.

After everyone important is dead, the movie basically drifts to an end with a few more dialogue scenes from Tommy Lee Jones - a character who ends up not interacting with any of the other main characters at all, but just comments a little on what has happened. The ending is so Naturalistic as to be almost a parody of Naturalism, including a random car crash near the end of the movie that comes out of nowhere but doesn't actually change anything important in the movie.

Don't be deceived by the glowing critic's reviews - this is a movie to be avoided. Or, if you absolutely can't miss it, watch the first 90 minutes and then walk out of the theater and make up your own ending. You'll be much happier that way.

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