Monday, April 11, 2011

Best Picture Project 4, No Country for Old Men

Welcome back for another Best Picture Project post. We hope you have been enjoying our thoughts. Please let us know in the comments if you do, or if you think we are stupid and full of crap! Here is that super secret link to the BBP label if your too lazy to scroll down and click it yourself. Next week's movie is Platoon.

No Country for Old Men, 2007

Is it a good or a bad when your favorite scene from a film is the opening monologue? I guess that depends on what comes after. In No Country for Old Men’s case it’s not a great thing. This movie is deep, thoughtful, brutal, thrilling and for me somewhat of a let down. It is based off the book of the same name by Cormack McCarthy; the author of one of my all time favorite books: The Road. A viewing note before I go any further, this movie was beautiful to behold in HD. If you’re going to see it, do so in High Definition. The vast Texas landscape of the film is simply breath taking and is another reason I loved the opening scene so much.

I’m not sure what exactly disappointed me about No Country for Old Men. The acting was absolutely wonderful. Tommy Lee Jones always proves he’s one of the best in Hollywood. Josh Brolin managed to pull off a very strong performance. He remained somewhat likable even though his characters actions were less than moral. Javier Bardem, who won best supporting actor for his role, stole the show as the gun for hire. As I mentioned earlier, the cinematography and set pieces were perfect. The sound and music don’t particularly stand out to me, but they don’t stand out as bad either. I guess it all comes down to story. I understand the story and what they were going for. The problems come in the presentation. I felt the long wandering monologues, while well spoken and written, slowed the film down and killed the sense of anticipation built in the action scenes. Don’t get me wrong I love a good monologue and this film is full of them. There in lies the problem.

Another issue I had was predictability. It didn’t take long for me to realize Josh Brolin’s character was going to die one way or another. When you steal two million dollars from drug lords and leave enough evidence that they know your name, you’re a dead man. Not once after that initial thought did I have doubts about his impending doom; this ruined any sense of suspense for me. This identity crisis was also a problem. Is this a thriller or an action film or a thinker? It’s just not clear. I don’t mind genre blending to a certain point, but here it’s less smooth transitions and more harsh changes from intense action to deep thought provoking monologues. Not to mention I truly stopped caring if Brolin’s character died or not after he chose to try and save himself instead of guarantee his wife’s survival.

I know what they were doing with the open ending. It’s really all in the title people. There is no country for old men. Things are changing and the America of our fathers and grandfathers is gone, likely never to return. The directors, the Cohen brothers did an outstanding job. If you liked Fargo and True Grit or pretty much anything else they have made, you’ll enjoy this; as I did. However the individual aspects of the film are much greater than its whole. I understand why it won best picture, but I do not agree. In a year that suffered from the writers strike, there was a less than full field of contenders. Unfortunately, I have real trouble putting No Country for Old Men above Juno for best picture that year. So for the first time in our best picture project, with some hesitation, I must render a not worthy verdict. But don’t just lean on my opinion, see it for yourself! If you disagree I want to know why.

Hobo Dan-

I was excited to see this film as it was described as a “thriller.” The opening monologue was well done, and the movie looked gorgeous, which was probably due to the blu-ray quality. Tommy Lee Jones was awesome as was Javier Bardem.

That being said, now time for my complaints. The movie did not live up to my expectations. What could have been a good plot seemed to JUST END. It was as if the writers knew they had to wrap up the movie because time was running out and they just haphazardly threw the end together. I GET the theme of the movie and the ending…I just feel like it could have been done better. I understand that they are saying the old days of the past are gone, the world is crappy and that there is “no country for old men.”

I guess I was primarily disappointed overall with this movie. To stress once again, YES, I got the film…it just wasn’t my cup of tea. (I can’t stand when people get upset because you don’t like a movie and then they try to say “well, you just didn’t get it” haha). So, for the first time in my BPP reviews, I DO NOT think this film was worthy of its Oscar win. Juno, which blew me away and was simply awesome, should have taken home that award. However, if you have yet to see No Country for Old Men, please do, you might like it…to each is his own.

The Wife-

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