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No Country for Old Men

Published November 8, 2007 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Miramax.
No Country for Old Men Poster No Country for Old Men
The Coen Brothers make all different types of movies, and no two are identical. Some may have similar tones but even surreal comedies like Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski and O Brother, Where Art Thou exist in their own realms. No Country for Old Men is more of a real world thriller in the vein of Blood Simple, but it is its own animal.

No Country for Old Men Review

No Country is the age old crime story of a meager hunter (Josh Brolin) who finds millions of dollars amongst a pile of dead bodies. Taking the money only leads to more trouble as an escaped convict (Javier Bardem) tails him and a cop (Tommy Lee Jones) takes the case.

The Coen Brothers make the same old story exciting again by telling the entire story in action. Nobody explains their plans, they just see what they have to do and do it. It's all clear, and it's never slow because it's exciting to see the action and reaction of each side.

Everything is still slightly off in a Coen Brothers way, which helps the momentum. Banal conversations are not Tarantino-style riffs. They are suspenseful distractions from what is about to come. Action sequences focus on small obstacles so it's all about the stakes, not the spectacle.

I don't usually comment on acting because I just expect everybody to do a good job. Usually, I only point out if someone really messes up. Here, the acting is so good it deserves note. Since most of the movie plays out in silence, showing us all the action, the actors have to convey everything in body language. From crazy-eyed Bardem to cool and calculated Brolin, these guys move the plot and tell us all we need to know.

Unfortunately, the film shifts a tad in the third act and becomes more talky. It resolves in tone with the rest of the film, but it ruins a lot of the momentum they had built up. At least they don't use random acts as resolution. The random acts only bring new consequences. And for a two hour movie to be at least 70 minutes of pure visual thrill, they can chat a little before it's over.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Miramax.

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