Tuesday, January 29, 2008

No Country for Old Men


You can say that again! We didn’t decide which film to see until we were actually at the cinema – delighted to find that Monday is bargain day. I bought a few raisins covered in chocolate and a sugarless blackcurrant drink. There were only two people sitting in the theatre and they were sitting in our seats - but they were quite cheerful about moving.

I love movies – as children we used to go twice a week and see Flash Gordon on Saturdays. The film’s been tipped to get an Oscar so we sat in eager anticipation - to be transported into another world. West Texas stretched out there before us and we were hooked right up to the end.

I don’t think I have seen a Coen brothers’ film before. It was adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name and Randall (sidebar) reckons it’s a great read. I certainly want to read it myself – not least to explain one or two points and also to absorb the dry, laconic dialogue.

The story is about a drug deal gone wrong and the hapless hero discovers murdered Mexicans and a large stash of money – 2 million dollars. There are three main protagonists; the sheriff played convincingly with a dry humour by Tommy Lee Jones (he was born in the area and one has to concentrate to pick up the nuances of his Texan drawl.) Secondly the evil hit man, played by Javier Bardem – a Munster like creature with neat hips and a strange limp hair style – you wouldn’t want to meet him – ever. Thirdly, Josh Brolin plays the hapless hero – a welder and 'Naam veteran. These three play a riveting cat and mouse game in the desert landscape and sparsely populated towns.

The pace is leisurely and thoughtful with plenty of time to puzzle out what’s going on but there are plenty of moments when one forgets to breathe and it illustrates that even if the genre is not your cup of tea a great film is worth anybody’s money.

The smaller parts are also a joy to watch and at last I know what Kelly Macdonald looks like – she has a fascinating face and plays Brolin’s wife. MTL wondered why Woody Harrelson would accept the small role of the second hit man – also a 'Naam veteran but I told him size doesn’t matter – it’s what he does with the part and I’m glad he was there.

Chigurh – the evil hit man is an agent of fate and chance and often gives his victims the opportunity to flip a coin to decide their fate and one of the questions unanswered is did he or didn’t he kill the wife. See if you can spot the give away clue. And he has a most interesting weapon.

Another reason I need to read the book - apart from translating some of Tommy Lee Jones authentic Texan drawl- is to find out what happened to the money. You may be cleverer than I am. I didn’t notice the music but there is suspense, cold blooded killing and black humour. I was spellbound.

Oh one last thing – wives of older husbands will appreciate the scene where the Sheriff- now retired decides how to spend the day; he could go riding or…

‘Maybe I’ll just help around the house.’

‘Better not!’ his wife offered.

Haven’t we all been there?



Eryl Shields said...

I've also just seen this and totally loved it. It's exactly the sort of film I want to see when I watch rather than read. And so I have seen all the Cohen brother's films: Miller's Crossing is fantastic.

I'll have to get me the book too, Cormac McCarthy rocks!

R. Sherman said...

Thanks for your thoughts. I still need to see it.

As for reading the book in order to translate, be warned: McCarthy's punctuation leaves something to be desired. It's best read aloud.


PI said...

Eryl: another book I MUST read. Isn't it amazing how different Javier Barden looks off screen- quit dishy.

Randall: ooops! Meant men much older than you dear:) MTL hears my posts aloud sometimes. Doubt if he could face a whole book.

kenju said...

Oh, yes, been there....LOL. I heard that this movie had a lot of blood and gore in it. Is that true?

PI said...

Judy: I suppose it did but then so does Sweeney Todd I imagine. I knew it was pretend, so it didn't bother me but there was a lot of gasping(on my part)and indrawn breath.

apprentice said...

Yes it's one my husband would like. I sometimes feel we should split in foyer!

PI said...

Anna: we both compromise; he'll see 'Atonement' and I'll see a Bond film but this was one we both appreciated.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I had a lot of trouble with this film....Some things that defyied my Suspensiuon Of Disbelief Button...You know? A few things just didn't make sense to me..But....It certainly was a film that kept you on the edge of your seat....BUT, too cruel for me...but then ALL The Coen Bros movies have this element...Also, I did not understand a word of Tommy Lee Jones last speech.....When the film was over, I said out loud, to no one..."WHAT????"
The actinf ALL was wonderful....But this was not a "Vest Picture" film, for me....

PI said...

Naomi: that is why I need to read the book and I had trouble with Tommy Lee jones's dialogue also.

Kath said...

Accents can be tricky ;O)
It's always funny to me because I adore the various British accents - which I've learned there are many many! - and I just can't understand why my husband loves mine so much! How could he love mine when he's got his - haha

Jimmy said...

I have not managed to see this movie yet, my local fleapit has still to screen it nevertheless I hope to put that right next week. I am very much looking forward to watching this film. One I like Coen Bros work, Tommy Lee Jones acting too

PI said...

Kath: there are some British ones I have difficulty with- a broad Liverpool and a Geordie one.

Jimmy: you have a treat in store!