Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Black Sheep presents: The Belanger Brothers vs. The Coen Brothers


There is nothing you can say to me that will take away from how I feel about this film. After watching it again for the third or fourth time last night, I can confidently say that NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is the Coen brothers absolute best work. I know I just said FARGO was their bast work yesterday but I've changed my mind. I'm allowed to do that. It saddens me somewhat to say that as it is an adaptation and author, Cormac McCarthy's solid structure clearly keeps Joel and Ethan in check here. Regardless, this film attacks with a hushed ferocity that never lets up and completely transfixes the viewer into this intense hunting session. They have dropped their signature quirk and let their characters be more human than ever before, making their filmmaking more disturbing than it has ever been before as well.

After reading what you wrote, I couldn't agree more. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is the best film among many awful movies. This is not to say I didn't enjoy it. They just make bad movies. I enjoyed "No Country". I found it gripping and filled with tension. The score and scenery were amazing. I found Javier Bardem to be the best part of this film. Everyone else played characters that were not stretches for them. Bardem blew me away. And the weapon of choice was genius. I think that this was the most accessible Coen film because they dropped the annoying wide-eyed acting. What you call signature quirk, I call annoying and the reason I wish they wouldn't make any more movies. I'd say my only complaint about this movie is the end. I found Tommy Lee Jones' speech at the end to be long and it went nowhere. The movie would have been much better off finishing right before this.

I will ignore your comment about how all their other films are crap and just focus on the fact that you liked this one. I find it particularly interesting that you would call "No Country" their most accessible film. "Accessible" is not a word I would associate with such a carefully paced film, let alone one that is so violent. I feel like you're saying that this is the Coen movie for people who don't like the Coens. And while I agree that Bardem was haunting and pushed himself personally (especially when you consider his heavy Spanish accent), I think that "No Country" put Josh Brolin back on the map and that Tommy Lee Jones really tapped into that sense of loss and defeat necessary to make the movie. After all, he is the old man from the title.

I am trying to say that actually. The Coens finally made a movie that people who don't like to Coens can watch. And while I also agree with your other comment abuot Brolin back on the map, I wouldn't excactly call this a stretch from him, which is a theme throughout Coen films. Actors (whether they have range or not) playing rangeless roles. What I liked most about this film is Carter Burwell's score. I am looking forward to seeing what he does with Where the Wild Things Are. The tone and overall feel of the film was perfectly set by the score. This was a highlight for me. I was annoyed that it didn't even get a nomination. It won so many awards it didn't deserve. For me this movie should have only won the Oscars for the DP Roger Deakins, Bardem for sure and the score. I would have preferred the Best Picture go to JUno (which would never happen) or THERE WILL BE BLOOD.

While I do love JUNO and THERE WILL BE BLOOD, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is an instant American classic. It is a distinctly American story and a culmination of so many incredible elements that make it a near perfect picture. In my opinion, and apparently also Roger Ebert's according to the BD sleeve, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is flawless.

You see, we were being so civil to each other and now you went and called it a classic. Making a flawless picture (which it's not) doesn't make for an instant classic. You have to have something that will stand out. Something that will make you remember. His murder weapon and his eyes are memorable. But this movie will not even rank in the classic category.

Joseph: There you have it, folks. My brother just called Roger Ebert a big liar.



Univarn said...

I'm rather indifferent towards No Country I have to admit. A bit more Matthew sided in that I respect it, I think it's a very good film with admirable qualities, but I can't say I ever really cared what was going on. I though the speeches by Lee's character were intriguing but unnecessary. I felt the film dragged its feet towards the end, and that it cut off its fascinating moments in order to appear obscure. I still gave it a 8.5/10 but yeah... I preferred There Will be Blood heavily in comparison.

Matt Belanger said...

I never said "big."

Bdubs said...

Really? Really??? I absolutely hated this movie. I found nothing entertaining about it. It was dark and depressing and just awful.

Black Sheep said...

Really? Really?? Why on earth would you be shocked that anyone would like this movie? It won the Best Picture Oscar so clearly, some people liked it. It was dark, yes and perhaps depressing as well but it was effective, tense and a great technical achievement on all fronts. I am shocked that you're shocked.

Eric said...

I cannot fathom how any human being can see this film and not think of it as an utter masterpiece. Brilliant from beginning to end.

And I'm tired of hearing people complain about the ending. Most either think it should end before Jones' recounting of his dream, or it should go out on a bang with a dramatic shoot-out. These people do not understand the concept of film grammar, nor do they understand the film's themes.

It couldn't have ended in any other way.

Black Sheep said...

Hooray, Eric! Thank you, sir. I could not agree more. Total masterpiece. The film ended exactly as it should have, its natural end.