Thursday, September 25, 2008

No Country for Old Men

Watched the best picture Coen brothers flick No Country last night for the first time. Now, I'm a huge fan of Oh Brother Where Art Thou, Barton Fink, and the Big Lebowski, but not so big on Fargo - although I liked it. I think I liked this one less than any of those four (but better than Intolerable Cruelty, which actually was watchable and kinda worked as a chick flick).

While I thought the "thriller" aspect of No Country was good, as I was on the edge of my seat a few times, and the actors were great in, particular Tommy Lee Jones and Kelly MacDonald, the story lacked some cohesionn. However, I forgive that in most Coen Bros. movies. The biggest thing lacking for me in No Country was humor.

Barton Fink, Fargo, and even the Big Lebowski all are pretty much dark comedies, which is probably my favorite genre of entertainment. I don't know what that says about me, but I really enjoy being able to find something humorous in an otherwise tragic situation. (Oh Bro' Where Art Thou had some dark themes as well, but the music kinda lightens the blows.) No Counrty, seemed totally lacking in humor (at least the first time through. I'll try to give it another watch).

It tried to be philisophical and presented some interesting ideas about the lines between good and evil and life and death- but I didn't think it was anything Sartrian. Maybe in these dry times for deep thought, as well as fairlly humorless times based on the war and financial crisis in the U.S., it's really the best we can get.

I'm still hoping I see something better if I get a chance to make it down to the Great Lakes Film Festival this weekend. This is an inde thing I've been wanting to go to for several years, but have either been traveling or too busy. I'm hoping to squeeze in a session or two to do some research on my theory that Big Hollywood is truly going out of vogue in today's movement toward narrowcasting.




DrD said...

No, there's no humor in Old Country.

As far as I can tell, the dude in Old Country is a continuation of the Randall "Tex" Cobb character from my favorite Coen Bros movie: Raising Arizona.

I think they were fascinated with the idea of: "What if you had this violent dude who was completely beyond compassion?"

That's basically the nature of the study.

I've certainly never seen a character so relentlessly brutal (outside of fantasy horror films).

Another favorite of mine: Blood Simple. It's an early CB's classic.

Ralph said...

Yes, I've been meaning to check out Blood Simple. It's been several years since I've ingested Raising Arizona as well.

Also, I think i kind of missed the point on Woody Harrelson's character. More than one person has suggested I read the book. I think I should do that.

Stan Langerhaus said...

It's my understanding that the film (book) deals with two themes: fate and violence with the asassin representing both, i suppose. You have to admit that he was true to his word.

The part that got me is the end. Was it supposed show that even random acts can upset fate? Not sure, but otherwise the movie was a good two hour diversion from my thoughts of my own eventual demise.