No Country for Old Men
by Mr. Stinkhead
8 out of 10
I am a big Coen Brothers fan, so be warned that this review is skewed in their favor. I loved Raising Arizona, I wrote an eight page paper about Fargo in college. I used to own Blood Simple and Miller's Crossing on VHS but they didn't make it to my DVD library yet (now I have to wait and do BluRay for everything) I've watched Barton Fink and the Hudsucker Proxy, and yes, I'm one with the Dude. I feel this is one of their finest pieces.
First off, I felt there was more than a subtle homage to Raising Arizona with the stalker coming to the trailer. It was like seeing a $100 Million version of THX 1138. I felt it was reminding the audience where they came from, yet also where they were going. Overall the experience was great. You know when you first discover Johnny Cash and you really just want him to do your voice mail greeting? I had similar feelings for Jarvier Bardem's Chigure. I wanted to see him take on favorite psychos and killers, I couldn't wait to see what he was going to do next. I felt the dialogue was sharp. I love how the Coens put on a vocabulary and dialect like a coat for each movie, and delve into native expressions. You should know from watching that it's the same brains behind Fargo, yet not because its the same dialogue. It's a similar commitment to dialogue.
Without giving away any spoilers (I know the initial box office take on this movie and a lot of you have not seen it yet). Yes I was disappointed with the ending. I applaud the risk involved with that ending, but it is largely unsatisfying. I think, when you're done, it places the emphasis on enjoying the first portion of the movie even more, but what good is "the best time of your life" if you realized you;ve already lived it?
I don't think they should have changed the ending to fit the popcorn munching, big box office driving force of movie goers. But I think they could have provided an ending that was a bit more satisfying. The ending can make or break a movie for me. Take Cabin Fever, the whole movie I'm generally enjoying myself, but it's the last 5 minutes that really made me want to watch the entire thing again. Likewise The Village was pretty unremarkable until the end when it became dreadful. I really enjoyed No Country, but the ending is what kept it from being phenomenal. The ending of Fargo, while non-traditional and true to their vision, was a bit more satisfying. I know they're also working from a book, (which I haven't read) so I know there are constraints there.
I enjoyed this movie immensely. I feel that Bardem's delivery was up there with Hopkins' Hannibal, and Stamp's Zod. Just pure eeeevil, man.
The Bonus Features were alright. There was nothing amazing or mind blowing revealed. They showed how they set up a few scenes, and talked about getting the look, just right, and it was interesting. I think the bonus features on Bourne Ultimatum, Smokin' Aces and even Idiocracy were more enjoyable. But I don't think people will be getting this DVD for the extras. It also appears (with all of their movies) that the Coen's are generally uncomfortable talking about themselves in the bonus features.
No Country for Old Men is available on DVD on March 11th from Amazon.com